At Home


At Work


 More Water Saving Tips

Laundry Rooms
  • Replace your clothes washer with a water-saving model. When shopping for a washer, check the water requirements of various models and brands. Some use less water than others.
  • Only run full loads in your washing machine. If you must wash a partial load, set your machine to use the least amount of water required.
  • Consider hanging up and reusing your towels both at home and when traveling.
  • Pretreat stains to avoid rewashing.
  • Check washer hoses for cracks that could result in leaks.
  • Install a low-flow aerator on your kitchen faucet. Free aerators are available to all Austin Water customers.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running. Fill one sink or basin with wash water and another with rinse water.
  • Scrape food from plates instead of rinsing them before washing. Newer dishwashers and detergents get dishes clean without needing to pre-rinse.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl or basin using a vegetable brush instead of letting the water run. Then use the wash water to water your plants.
  • Don’t use running water to thaw frozen foods. Thaw food overnight in the refrigerator or use your microwave's defrost setting instead.
  • Chill water in the refrigerator instead of running the faucet until the water gets cold.
  • Cook food in as little water as possible and put a lid on the pot. This will also help food keep more nutrients. Use water left over from cooking foods like pasta and vegetables to water plants.
  • Start a compost pile or scrape food into the trash instead of running your garbage disposal. If you must use your disposal, only run it once a day to reduce water use.
  • If you have a dishwasher, use it rather than washing dishes by hand. Efficient dishwashers use as little as four gallons per cycle.
  • Run only full loads in your dishwasher.
  • Use one glass for drinking water each day or refill a water bottle to cut down on the number of glasses you need to wash.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting water run over them while you scrape.
  • If you drop ice cubes from the freezer or have cubes left over after finishing your drink, don’t throw them in the sink. Put them in a plant instead.
  • If you are shopping for a new dishwasher, buy the most efficient model you can. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency has developed a list of energy- and water-efficient models.
Vehicle and Surfaces 
  • Clean your driveway or sidewalk with a broom, not a hose. 
  • Wash your car at a commercial car wash that recycles water. This saves hundreds of gallons of water when compared to washing your car at home. Remember that starting with Stage 1 Restrictions, vehicles may only be washed at a commercial car wash, not at home.
  • If you wash your car at home during Conservation Stage, park on the grass and use a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
  • Consider using a waterless cleaning product to wash your car.
Pools and Fountains


  • Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than ones that spray water into the air. Beginning with Stage 2 Restrictions, fountains with aerial emission or fall greater than four inches may not operate.
  • Only use fountains or other ornamental water features that recirculate water. This is required by the Water Conservation Code.


  • Avoid using recreational water toys that need a constant flow of water.
  • Place children’s water toys on dry areas of the lawn.
  • To reduce water loss from splash-out, avoid diving, splashing, and water fights.

Leak Detection and Maintenance

  • Check your pool regularly for cracks and leaks. Use a grease pencil to mark the water level at the skimmer and check the mark 24 hours later. If the pool has lost more than ¼ inch of water, it may have a leak.
  • Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation, keep your pool cleaner, and reduce the need to add chemicals. Rebates for a new pool cover may be available from Austin Water.
  • If the pool/spa is heated, lower the water temperature a couple of degrees to reduce water loss from evaporation.
  • Surrounding the pool with shrubs or fences can help cut water loss from wind evaporation.
  • Refill the pool only when needed for water quality reasons. Maintaining proper chemical levels and adequate circulation time can help you avoid the need to drain it as often.
  • Filling the pool a few inches lower than usual can reduce the amount of water splashed out.
  • When topping off, use a hose timer to avoid overfilling.
  • Check and maintain pool auto fillers.
  • When cleaning the pool, use a pool vacuum that recycles water.
  • Backwash pool filters only when needed and consider manually cleaning the filter.
  • Be sure to check the watering schedule for the right time and day to water for your address.
  • Thoroughly check your system each spring when you first turn it on and repair any leaks as soon as possible.
  • Check your controller settings to avoid excessive watering.
    • Start with low times and add additional time if areas of stress appear in your yard.
    • Water during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are lowest to reduce evaporation and waste.
    • Even in the hottest months, your lawn needs no more than one inch of water weekly. Don't forget to take rainfall into account.
    • Cooler temperatures in spring and fall let you water less often- once every two weeks compared to once a week in summer.
    • Don't forget to turn your system off for the winter.
  • Adjust sprinklers so that only your lawn is being watered.
    • Realign heads that spray too high in the air, onto pavement or structures, or into tall grass or shrubs.
    • After mowing, make sure sprinkler heads haven’t been broken or knocked out of alignment.
  • Use drip irrigation for bedded plants, shrubs, and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it’s needed. 
  • Schedule a free irrigation system evaluation from Austin Water (for customers using 20,000 gallons in two consecutive months or 25,000 gallons in one month of the current irrigation season) or do a self-audit of your system. 
  • Rebates may be available for improving your irrigation system's water-efficiency.
Around the House 
  • Check for and repair all leaky faucets, fixtures, and pipes both inside and outside your home.  Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing these can save hundreds of gallons of water a month.  Check the water supply lines under your sinks for damp spots or bulges in the hose, which may indicate a leak.
  • Check your water bill to track your water use and keep an eye out for unusually high use that could indicate a leak.
  • Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks.  Turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances and check your water meter at 10 to 20 minute intervals. If it continues to turn or run, a leak probably exists and needs to be located.
  • Make sure you know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save gallons of water and prevent damage to your home if a pipe were to break.
  • Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures are expected to dip below freezing to prevent broken pipes.


  • Replace older toilets with WaterSense labeled models that use 1.28 gallons per flush or consider installing a dual flush model that can use even less. 
  • Check your toilet for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If it appears in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that needs repair. Even a small leak can waste hundreds of gallons a month. 
  • Repair running toilets promptly.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Put tissues, insects, and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.

Baths, Showers and Faucets

  • Install water-saving aerators on your bathroom faucets and water-saving showerheads that use 1.5 gallons per minute or less.  Free aerators and showerheads are available for Austin Water customers. 
  • Fix dripping faucets promptly.  
  • Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water while you’re waiting for it to warm up. Use that water later for watering plants, flushing toilets, or running the garbage disposal.
  • Take shorter showers- try for less than 5 minutes. If you take a bath, fill the tub half full or less.
  • Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth, lathering in the shower, and shampooing/conditioning your hair.
Lawns and Plants 
  • Visit Grow Green for free landscape design templates, a list of drought-tolerant plants that are native or adapted to the area, and troubleshooting tips.
  • Install a rainbarrel or rainwater harvesting system to capture rainwater from your roof for use on your landscape.  Rebates may be available from Austin Water.
  • Add 2 to 4 inches of organic material, such as compost or bark mulch, around trees and plants to help retain moisture in the soil and discourage weed growth.  Press mulch down around the drip line of each plant to form a slight depression which will help minimize water runoff.
  • Try using ollas (unglazed clay pots) to irrigate your bedding plants. Bury the pots (first seal any drainage holes) so that about one inch remains above the surface.  Fill with water and cover. The water will slowly seep through the porous clay, directly irrigating the plants’ roots.  Refill when the water is absorbed, usually once or twice a week.
  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting.  Taller grass encourages growth of deeper root systems and shades the soil to reduce moisture loss.
  • Choose drought-tolerant plants when landscaping, and group plants with similar water needs together (hydrozoning).  If you’re installing a lawn, select a turf mix or blend that matches climate and site conditions.
  • Avoid over-seeding your lawn with winter grass that requires watering. Warm season turf, such as St. Augustine and Bermuda, goes into a form of dormancy over the winter and gets adequate water from precipitation.
  • Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for areas that receive little use or are hard-to-water, such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • When you give your pet fresh water or clean out your fish tanks, don’t pour the old water down the drain.  Use it to water your plants.  Wash pets outdoors in an area of lawn that needs water.
  • Aerate your lawn at least once a year by punching holes about six inches apart to allow water to reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  • Don’t over-water your plants.  Learn how much water they need and how best to apply the right amount. Before watering, use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth.  If the top two or three inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.
  • Use a timer on hose-end sprinklers to avoid over-watering.  Remember that sprinklers may only be used according to the assigned watering schedule for your address. Rebates may be available from Austin Water.
  • Use a minimum amount of organic or slow release fertilizer to promote a healthy and drought tolerant landscape.
  • Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs, and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil to keep soil cooler and reduce evaporation.
  • Plant when temperatures are cooler and plants require less water- this is also less stressful for the plants.
  • Remove weeds from your garden beds- this helps cut down on excess water consumption due to plant competition.
  • Water areas in the shade about 30 percent less than sunny areas.  Shade creates a microclimate of cooler temperatures and lower evaporation, so plants need less water.
  • Top dress turf areas with ¼ to ½ inch of compost to help increase soil health.
In the Community
  • Report watering schedule violations and water waste that you see by calling 3-1-1.
  • Encourage your employer to promote water conservation in the workplace by calling 512-974-2199 for information about commercial and industrial water-saving programs and incentives.
  • Support projects that will lead to an increased use of reclaimed waste water for irrigation and other uses.
  • Learn about challenges facing the area’s water supplies and get involved in local water management issues.  Attend public meetings to voice your questions and concerns about water policies.
  • Learn more about water conservation and share conservation tips with friends and neighbors.