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The US EPA estimates that an average family of 4 in the US consumes around 400 gallons of water a day, 280 of which are used indoors. At least 20-30% of that water usage can be reduced with a few simple acts and upgrades. Here are ideas and tips for ways to reduce water use.

1. Be Water Conscious - Just as you save energy by turning off your lights, switching off the power strip, you should be just as conscious about conserving water. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving, conserve water when hand washing dishes, don't use hot water to defrost food, and take shorter showers.  Try programming these tasks into your daily routine.  Also, understand indirect water use (e.g., 1,800 gallons of water for a pound of beef) and make choices to consume products that require less fresh water.

2. Save Water For Another Use - Keep a pitcher on hand near the sink or shower to catch extra water for another use. While waiting for the water to get hot or cold, put the pitcher under the faucet or a bucket under the showerhead. Use that water for your plants, to wash fruit and vegetables, for your pet, or for cleaning. It may seem excessive, but in reality, every drop counts.

3. Stop and Fix Leaks - Whether it is a faucet, your shower or your toilet, take action today to stop the leak. Sometimes it is as simple as tightening a knob with a wrench, other times you may need to bring in a professional. A toilet that is running constantly could be leaking up to 200 gallons a day! A toilet could also be leaking slowly, so much so that you don't notice it. To check your toilet for leaks, utilize a simple dye test, and install a new flapper if you find a leak. Not only will you save water by fixing your leaks, but you'll also be saving money on your water bill.

4. Irrigate Efficiently - If you have a lawn at your office, make sure your irrigation system is working efficiencly. Perform a sprinkler audit or have a professional landscaper check your system. Consider changing your landscaping to a Waterwise or Xeriscaped landscape to reduce water use and maintenance.

5. Compost - Rather than shove your waste food down the garbage disposal throw all those lovely scraps into your composter. When you use a garbage disposal the faucet is running for that full length of time, not to mention garbage disposals can add 50% to the volume of solids in the sewer system. Composting will provide you with ample, rich soil and save you water as well.

6. Install Low-Flow Fixtures - Low-flow faucet aerators and showerheads are reasonably priced and can affect huge water savings. Look for WaterSense labeled products that use 20% or more less water than other fixtures.

7. Trade Out Your Toilet - Since toilets are responsible for 27% of indoor household water use, it's worth looking into replacing yours. Newer and more water efficient toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush or less. 

8. Replace Your Appliances - The most water efficient dishwashers and clothes washers are also Energy Star labeled, which also means reduced energy use. Use your appliances efficiently by washing only full loads of dishes or clothes. Wait the extra meal to have enough dishes or another day until you have enough clothes to make running that appliance worth it. While some appliances have settings for smaller loads, most do not, and use just as much water to wash a few things as it does to wash a full load. Be sure to read your appliance manuals thoroughly to understand the various settings, and energy saving cycles to efficiently wash your dishes or clothes.

9. Collect Rainwater - A rainwater harvesting system collects water while it is raining and uses it to water your plants. More advanced systems can use that water for non-potable uses inside like flushing toilets. A simple rainwater catchment system is very easy to set up and use in your own yard.

10. Install an On Demand Hot Water Heater - Rather than wait for the hot water to reach your shower or sink, install a tankless, on demand hot water heater. This way you reduce cold water wasted down the drain and save 24-34% energy compared to traditional hot water heaters.

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