Save Water, Lower Your Bill

As New Orleanians, we are used to living with water. Living on the Mississippi River, we usually have plenty of water to spare. For that reason, it’s a common misconception that we don’t need to conserve water. However, conservation and smart water use are just as important to us as our land-locked neighbors.

We all have a major role to play in efficiently and responsibly using the limited freshwater resources available. Not to mention, using less water can help save you money on your water and sewer bill.

Here are some ways to reduce your water use by addressing leaks, decreasing water flow, and being smarter about your water use. Click the tips below to learn more.

Take shorter showers.

  • Showers use less water than baths.
  • You can also turn off the water while you bathe and then turn it back on to rinse.

Wash only full loads of laundry.

If you have access to a dishwasher, use it.

  • Make sure to run a full load.
  • Avoid handwashing dishes.
  • Do not rinse dishes before you load the dishwasher. Wipe them with a sponge, scraper, or paper towel instead.
  • If you must handwash, be water efficient. Plug your sink and fill it with soapy water to wash. Refill it with clean water to rinse.

Check your toilets for leaks.

  • A leaking toilet can waste 15,000 gallons of water a month.
  • Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in your toilet tank. Don't flush for about 10 minutes. If any color shows up in the toilet bowl, you have a leak. (Source: EPA)
  • Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.
  • If your toilet has a leak:
    • Check your flapper to see if it is sitting properly in the valve seat. Some common issues can involve a chain that is too short, a loose toilet handle, or a deteriorated flapper.
    • Check your fill valve and ensure the water level on your tank is adjusted properly.]
    • Learn more about how to fix a leaking toilet at Regional Water Providers Consortium's website.

Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.

  • A slow showerhead leak (10 drips per minute) can waste over 40 gallons per month. (EPA)
  • A faucet leak (one drip per second) can waste more than 250 gallons per month.

Turn off faucets when you can.

  • …while you brush your teeth.
  • …while you soap your hands.
  • …while you shave.
    • Turning off the tap can save 200 gallons of water per month.
  • Make sure to turn off the faucets tightly so that water doesn't drip or leak.

Sweep, don't spray.

  • Sweep dirt off porches, sidewalks, and driveways to conserve water.

Can you go without that car wash?

  • A dirty car is a sign you are doing your part.
  • If you have to wash a car, fill a bucket and clean with a sponge instead of spraying with a hose.

Let grass go dormant.

  • Your lawn needs to recharge just like you, so it naturally goes dormant based on seasonality. Keep your sprinkler off for a few more weeks.
    • Grass may turn brown when dormant, but that does not mean it's dead. It means you're doing your part. Most healthy turf grasses can be left dormant for three to four weeks without the grass dying.
    • Dormancy can even encourage a healthier lawn.

Some plants need to be watered. When our tap water is fresh enough for plants, please be thoughtful about what you water and how.

  • Hand watering uses less water than a sprinkler.
  • Water your outdoor plants in the morning or evening when it's cooler, so less water evaporates.
  • While your shower warms up, use a bucket or bowl to catch cold water.
    • Over 10 percent of a typical shower is wasted waiting for hot water to arrive.
    • Use it to water plants, clean, or fill toilet tanks.
  • Consider installing a rain barrel to catch the rain for outdoor use. (Bonus: capturing stormwater keeps it out of streets and canals.)

    • A properly installed rain barrel will not grow mosquitoes.

    • Need rain barrel advice? Contact Green Light NOLA at

    • You can also purchase a rain barrel at your local Jefferson Feed and Harold's.

Other Resources:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Start Saving | US EPA          

Water Education Foundation: Water Conservation Tips - Water Education Foundation

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