Water Conservation

Water usage can be reduced up to 20 per cent by upgrading fixtures and appliances, checking for leaks and changing some of our habits. This will lower water bills and help make sure there is a good water supply for future generations. We need about 2 L of water per day to live. Residents in York Region use about 270 L to 300 L per day.

Average water usage

Home Water Use

Average Amount of Water Used

Toilets

13 L - 20 L per flush

Low flow toilets

6 L per flush

Top loading washing machine

175 L per load

Front loading washing machine

124 L per load

Older shower heads

Up to 30 L per minute

Low flow shower heads

9.5 L per minute

Older model dishwashers

36 L - 63 L per load

Newer model dishwashers

31 L - 45 L per load

Watering lawn

35 L per minute per sprinkler head

Brushing teeth

18 L per brushing

Washing a car with a running hose

400 L

Washing a car with a hose nozzle and bucket

100 L

Outdoor faucets

22 L per minute

Water conservation tips

Richmond Hill has some water conservation tips to help you make better choices when it comes to using water. There are changes you can make indoors and outdoors to help reduce your water usage.

Indoor water conservation tips

The following tips will help reduce your indoor water usage.

In the bathroom

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, shaving and washing your hands (this can save between 60 and 80 per cent of water usage in the bathroom)
  • Take shorter showers (reducing shower time from 20 minutes to eight minutes can save up to 360 L of water)
  • Use low-flow shower heads (this can save up to 20 L of water per minute)
  • Do not use toilets as wastepaper baskets and avoid unnecessary flushing
  • Use low-flow toilets (this can save up to 14 L of water per flush)
  • Avoid using disinfectants or cleaners that need to be placed in the toilet tank (these can weaken mechanical parts in the tank)
  • Check for leaks and drips in sinks and showers regularly, replacing the O-ring to stop leaks

In the kitchen

  • Use low-flow aerators on kitchen sink faucets
  • Don't leave the water running when washing dishes, use one sink for washing and one sink for rinsing or place washed dishes in a rack and rinse them all at once
  • Clean fruits and vegetables in a partially filled sink, doing a quick rise at the end, instead of using running water
  • Steam vegetables on the stove or in the microwave to reduce the amount of cooking water needed
  • Keep a lid on the pot when boiling or simmering water to reduce water loss through evaporation
  • Catch excess running water in a container for outdoor use or plant watering
  • Keep a jug of cold drinking water in the fridge instead of running the tap water to get it cold
  • Only run full dishwasher loads
  • Don't rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher
  • Use the lowest setting on the dishwasher
  • Limit use of the garburator
  • Check for faucet leaks regularly, replacing the O-ring to stop leaks

In the laundry room

  • Consider buying a front-loading washing machine (they use 54 L less per load and can save up to 70 per cent in energy)
  • Always run a full load of laundry, being careful not to overload your machine
  • Be sure to set the water level to the size of the load if it isn't a full load
  • Use the shortest washing cycle whenever possible
  • Always choose a cold water rinse cycle
  • Only use hot or warm water cycles for very dirty loads or whites

Water heater

  • Make sure hot water pipes are well insulated to shorten the time it takes for water to warm up
  • Make sure cold water pipes are well insulated to prevent cooling down of hot water pipes
  • Consider installing heat traps to stabilize temperature and reduce the time it takes for the water to warm up

Outdoor water conservation tips

Richmond Hill's water restrictions in the summer months help reduce outdoor water usage, which typically can be very high during this time. The following are some tips for reducing outdoor water usage.

Car washing

  • Use a hose with a shut off nozzle
  • Spray the car and then use a bucket of soapy water to wash it and rinse when finished (this can save up to 300 L of water per wash)
  • Turn off the faucet to your hose when you are finished to avoid water leaking through the nozzle
  • Check hoses and connectors for leaks regularly
  • Don't hose down your driveway, use a broom instead

Know when to water your lawn

  • Only water your lawn when it needs it
  • Use a rain gauge to figure out when your lawn needs watering (less than 1 inch of rain per week)
  • Water your lawn when the grass does not spring back when you step on it
  • Water your lawn when it is difficult to push a screwdriver into the soil

Landscaping

  • Choose plants that require less water
  • Use rocks, gravel and deck areas to decorate your yard
  • Use drip watering systems around trees and shrubs
  • Remove weeds
  • Remember that grass will go dormant during a drought and will regenerate when water becomes available so it's wise to accept a less than lush lawn during dry weather
  • Match the amount of fertilizer to what's required by your plants, you need extra water for fertilizer applications

Pools

  • Use a pool cover when it is not being used (this can prevent up to 90 per cent of water loss through evaporation)
  • Switch to a filter that doesn't require regular back-flushing
  • Save back-flushing water for watering lawns, plants, trees and shrubs
  • Check for leaks regularly by placing a full bucket of water beside the pool for 24 hours, the water levels should drop at the same rate due to evaporation (you might have a leak if the pool level drops more)

Watering your lawn

  • Place sprinklers where the water lands on areas that need it (don't water it if it doesn't grow)
  • Use a timer to control watering (about an inch of water flows per 30 minutes)
  • Use a kitchen timer if you don't have a sprinkler timer
  • Water your lawn between 6 and 10 a.m. to prevent water loss through evaporation
  • Avoid watering on windy days
  • Water isolated spots that need it instead of the entire lawn
  • Use soaker hoses to save up to 70 per cent of water usage compared to sprinklers
  • Leave grass clippings on your lawn after mowing (the clippings contain 50 per cent water and they will fertilize the lawn)
  • Keep mower blades sharp
  • Mow your lawn only when it is dry
  • Never cut more than a third of the grass length
  • Keep your grass length 5 to 8 cm long

Water for Tomorrow

York Region's Water for Tomorrow project promotes water efficiency. It teaches residents how to do their part to help save water at home and at work.