Water Conservation in and around the Home

Water is a Shared Resource

We all depend on water and expect it to be available when we need it. But, when precipitation receipts (rainfall and snow) fall below average, we experience low water conditions and even drought. During low water conditions and drought, it is especially important to conserve water, using it wisely in our daily routines and activities. The source of our water – surface water (rivers, streams, lakes) and groundwater – are naturally replenished with rainfall and melting snow. Remember – Water is a Shared Resource.

Water Conservation

There are many ways to reduce the amount of water used in and around your home – every day. You can make small changes that have BIG impacts by following the 3 Rs of water conservation:

Reduce water use by changing a few habits

Repair leaks promptly

Retrofit fixtures to more water-efficient standards.

Several municipalities within the Otonabee Region watershed have an outdoor water use bylaw. Check with your local municipality for details about where and when water restrictions are in effect.

Taking water from streams by pumping it into barrels or containers can impact other water users as well as the ecological function of streams. It is not recommended to fill dry wells with surface water or treated water. Check with your municipality to find out if a water-filling station, or bulk water supplies, are available. Depending on how much water you need, a permit from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks may be required.


Water saving tips and measures you can do at home – every day!

In the Bathroom

1. If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.

2. If you think your toilet flapper is leaking, add a few drops of food colouring to the toilet tank (but don’t flush). If the colour appears in the toilet bowl, you have a flapper leak that needs repair.

3. Install a showerhead model with a “trickle” button that allows you to stop all but a trickle of water while you lather up or shampoo, and then resume showering at the same flow rate and temperature.

4. Don’t flush paper waste down the toilet if it can be disposed of in the waste basket.

5. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face.


In the Kitchen

1. Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge, rather than running tap water until its cold enough to drink.

2. Water demands for handwashing, rinsing fruits and vegetables or dish washing can be reduced by installing an efficient faucet or aerator.

3. If you are washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of water required to do the task. Place washed dishes in a drying rack and rinse them together with a spray of water.

4. Rinse fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water rather than under a running tap. You can then use the water for houseplants or in your garden.


In the Garden

1. Select native plant species that need less water.

2. Group plants according to how much water they need.

3. Maintain healthy soils to absorb surface water runoff, minimize erosion and absorb nutrients and sediments.

4. Water wisely – avoid watering during the heat of the day when evaporation rates are highest.

5. Use mulch to reduce evaporation, moderate soil temperature and inhibit weed growth.

6. Adding organic matter and aerating the soil can improve its ability to hold water.



1. Use a bucket, sponge and hose with a shut-off nozzle to wash and rinse your car or go to a Car Wash that recycles the water that is used.

2. Sweep driveways and walkways rather than washing these areas with the hose.

3. Cover swimming pools when not in use to reduce evaporation and the need to add more water to the pool.

4. Install rain barrels to collect water that can then be used to water gardens.

5. Check your sprinkler or other irrigation system regularly for any leaks that need to be repaired.