Tips for staying water-wise, during a drought or not

Droughts can be devastating and affect millions of people at once. Any area can be affected by a drought — including yours.
Image: FEMA/Max Whittaker

Droughts aren’t just about a lack of water. They can cause wildfires, landslides and falling debris. And once it does finally rain, the drought conditions can cause flash floods.

During a drought, you’ll be asked to conserve water. Restrictions may be put in place, such as when — or if — you can water your lawn, fill your pool or wash your car.

The truth is, you should really be conserving water all the time. Here are some tips you can follow, during a drought or not:


  • Look for leaks. If your toilet or sink floods, chances are you’ll notice. But what about a drip or tiny trickle? Check that none of your appliances, faucets or pipes are leaking, and fix them if so.
  • If you’re allowed to water your lawn, do it in the early morning or late evening, not during the full heat of the day. Pay attention to weather conditions, too. If it’s rained recently, you probably won’t need to run your sprinklers. You can also water less in the winter.
  • Take shorter showers. Turn on the water to get wet. Turn off to lather up and let your shampoo sink in and do its work. Then turn the water back on to rinse. Replace your shower head with a low-flow version.
  • Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth, wash your face or while shaving. 
  • Got a dishwasher? Use it when it’s full and select the “light wash” feature.
  • When doing laundry, use the washer only when you have a full load and set the water level to the size of your load. 

Get more water conservation tips from the Environmental Protection Agency and Ready.gov.

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