Water Conservation Tips

Your alarm goes off, you wake up, and it’s time to start another day. You head to the bathroom, take a shower, brush your teeth, and then head to the kitchen. You have a cup of coffee, clean some dishes, and head to work. Now imagine starting your day without water. How different your life would be without it, or if you had to go to a well or river every time you needed it. With the convenience of indoor plumbing, we take clean, seemingly plentiful water for granted. We simply turn a faucet and water flows.

The average American home uses about 400 gallons of water per day. By 2015, the US EPA predicts that more than half of American communities will implement routine water restrictions. Increased water demands and our aging water treatment systems will likely cause:

n Higher water prices to ensure continued access to a reliable and safe supply;

n Greater summer watering restrictions to manage shortages; and

n Expensive water treatment projects to transport and store freshwater when local demand overcomes available capacity.

Water is a valuable resource that should not be wasted. Conserving water is more important than most people realize. Water conservation helps ensure reliable water supplies are available not just for today, but for future generations. Water conservation means using water more efficiently, and includes water reclamation and recycling. Water efficiency is the smart use of our water resources through water-saving equipment and fixtures, and the simple steps we can all take around the house and work.

Did You Know?

n 50% to 70% of residential water is used outdoors for watering lawns and gardens.

n An American home can waste, on average, more than 10,000 gallons of water every year due to running toilets, dripping faucets, and other household leaks.

n Installing more efficient water fixtures and regularly checking for leaks can reduce home water use up to 22 gallons a day.

n You can save 10 to 20 gallons of water a day by running the dishwasher only when it is full.

n You can save up to 150 gallons of water when washing a car by turning the hose off between rinses.

What Does Water Conservation Mean to the Postal Service?

The Postal Service™ uses water in many ways, including for landscape irrigation and fleet vehicle washing. The Postal Service must pay for the clean water it uses, and in most places, also pay sewer fees based on actual waste consumption rates. It is important to take every step to conserve water to protect this valuable resource and save money.

What Can You Do?

You can save water at work and at home by using water wisely. Don’t waste water by letting it flow down drains or sidewalks. Sweep sidewalks and driveways instead of hosing them down. Share the following talk points with your fellow employees.

What Should Employees Know?

n If you notice a leaking faucet, fix it as soon as possible to avoid wasting up to 140 gallons of water a week.

n Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth. Wait until you are finished brushing and ready to rinse before turning on the water. It will save 25 gallons a month.

n Minimize the need for watering gardens and lawns with xeriscaping concepts that rely on drought-resistant plant species.

n If you live in a drought-prone area, consider using rain barrels to collect rainwater for your lawn, garden, and other irrigation needs.

n Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.

n If your toilet was installed before 1992, reduce water used per flush by inserting a brick or plastic bottle filled with water in the tank. Check with your local city water company for any incentives on the purchase of low-flush toilets.

n Drop your tissues in the trash rather than in the toilet and save water.

n Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 300 gallons a month.

n Minimize water use for vehicle cleaning by either using dry washing compounds for cleaning or ultra-fine misting techniques. If using a commercial car wash, pick one that recycles water.

n Protect the quality of groundwater. Do not discharge oils or other automotive fluids into storm drains.

n Install aerators on faucets to reduce flow by 1 gallon a minute.

n You can learn more about water conservation projects at the USPS Lean Green Team website:

n Test your “water sense” and calculate your water savings by getting on the EPA website at

Where Can You Find Additional Information?

n For more information on what you can do to make a difference, visit the USPS Sustainability website at

n For more information on water conservation, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Sense website at

n Take a fast and fun quiz to test your “WaterSense” on the EPA website at

DID YOU KNOW? Lean Green Teams play an antegral role in helping USPS create a culture of conservation.