The Public Service Commission Partners with EPA's WaterSense Program

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has teamed with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WaterSense program to help consumers conserve water for future generations and reduce costs on their water bills.

The aim of the new EPA program is to decrease indoor and outdoor non-agricultural water use through high-efficiency products and simple water-saving practices. The program helps customers identify water-efficient products in the marketplace that have been independently certified for efficiency and performance and promotes water-saving techniques that reduce stress on water systems and the environment.

Fully adopting water-efficient products and practices can save the average household approximately 30,000 gallons of water per year - enough to supply 150 homes with drinking  water for an entire year. Although water shortages have typically been a concern in the western United States, today concerns about water are spreading across the county. Water managers in 36 states now expect local or regional water shortages to occur over the next several years. Wasting less water in our homes and yards also saves money and improves the quality of our water sources nationwide. When we use less water in our homes and daily lives, we all win.

The PSC is proud to be a WaterSense partner and is looking forward to working with utilities and water consumers to improve awareness and promote water-saving products and practices in and around the home. For more information on promoting water-efficiency, the WaterSense program or becoming a WaterSense partner - contact:

Water & Wastewater Division of the PSC
1-800-344-5113, EXT. 826

For more information on WaterSense, and for a full list of labeled water-efficient products and irrigation certification programs, visit:

Every Drop Counts

Most of us take for granted an abundant supply of good, fresh water. We meet our daily needs when we turn on the faucet and get seemingly unlimited running water. However, this situation could change as the demand for water grows, especially in the spring and summer months.

Water shortages are certainly inconvenient and even scary. At first, they are hard to understand when we know that the United States daily rainfall equals 4.2 trillion gallons. However, water is not always located where it is needed and demand keeps increasing.

In the last 30 years, the United States’ demand for water has grown faster than our ability to find new water sources. During this period, our population has grown 52 percent, but total water use has tripled.

Did you know that the average American uses 100 gallons of water every day? We can all reduce our water use by as much as 30 percent by following some of these simple conservation tips:

     1).   Bathing and Personal Care

  • Install flow restrictors on individual water fixtures like shower heads and faucets to automatically reduce flow and aerate the water.

  • Don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving. For teeth brushing, half fill a glass to wet your brush and rinse your mouth. For shaving, fill the basin and dip your razor as needed.

  • Reduce the amount of water the toilet uses by filling a one-gallon plastic container with water and putting it in the tank to displace one gallon of tank water.

  • Don’t flush the toilet unnecessarily. Each flush uses five to seven gallons of water. Throw tissues, insects and other trash into the wastebasket, not the toilet.

  • Turn faucets off completely to avoid drips and slow leaks.

  • Use a bucket and collect the cold water for watering plants as your shower heats up.

  • Turn the shower off while you shampoo your hair.

  • Take short showers, not baths. Limit showers to five minutes or less.

  • Only partially fill the tub for bathing. A good rule is five inches.

     2).   Laundry

  • Wash clothes when they are dirty, not just to remove wrinkles.

  • Hand wash several items at the same time. Use the final rinse water from one group of items as the wash water for the next group.

  • Launder only full loads.

  • Use good laundering techniques. Sort clothes and follow the detergent recommendations carefully.

  • Adjust washing machine water level control to coincide with your load size.

  • Read the manufacturer's directions before using a permanent press cycle. This cycle may fill the tub an extra time, which can use an additional 20 gallons of water.

  • Check the hoses and look for leaks periodically.

     3).   Cooking and Drinking Water

  • Use tight-fitting lids on pans to keep water from boiling away faster.

  • Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary.

  • Use a small pan of water to wash, peel or clean vegetables rather than letting the water run.

  • Cook food in as little water as possible. Doing so also prevents the loss of nutrient value.

  • Save the water left after you cook vegetables for soups, cooking other raw vegetables or fruit. Refrigerate and use within a few days.

  • Follow recipes carefully and do not overcook or measure out more water than necessary.

  • Limit use of the garbage disposal because it requires a sizeable amount of water to operate properly. Wait and use the disposal only once rather than several times.

     4).   Household Cleaning

  • Use a pan of soapy water for hand washing dishes and one of hot water for rinsing. This uses less water than a running faucet.

  • Use rinse water after it has cooled to water outdoor plants.

  • Hand wash cooking utensils and serving dishes that take up dishwasher space. Wash them as soon as possible to prevent food particles from getting hard and becoming more difficult to remove.

  • Scrape or wipe dishes rather than rinsing if they are to be washed immediately in the dishwasher.

  • Wash only full loads in the dishwasher.

  • Follow your dishwasher manufacturer’s instructions on how to best save water and energy. Select shorter cycles when possible or use less water.

  • Clean up spills and remove spots as quickly as possible so you won’t have to mop the floor or shampoo the carpet as often.

  • Vacuum rugs regularly so you will not have to shampoo them as often.

  • Wash windows outdoors with a bucket of soapy water. Rinse quickly with a hose using a high-pressure, low volume, pistol-grip nozzle.

  • Plan household cleaning chores so that you can reuse water for certain activities. Clean lightly soiled surfaces first, then the dirtier areas.

  • Clean the driveway, patio, sidewalks and garage floor with a broom rather than a hose and water.

  • Park on the grass and use a bucket of water with mild detergent to wash your car. Rinse quickly with the hose. Not only will your car get clean but your lawn will also get watered.

     5).   Lawn and Garden

  • Group garden vegetables together that need more water so you can apply water more efficiently.

  • Plan your landscape or garden to minimize water needs and to provide shade during summer months.

  • Spread leaves, pine straw or small pieces of bark on the ground around plants.

  • Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil for a longer time.

  • Pull weeds to eliminate competition for water.

  • Water thoroughly, but less frequently. Doing so promotes a deeper grass root system to withstand dry weather better.

  • Water your lawn between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. to avoid sun evaporation. Don’t water when it is windy and during the heat of the day. Set an alarm to remind you to move or turn off the water.

  • Water brown spots separately so that you do not water areas not needing as much water.

  • Talk with your local garden center about the most effective irrigation systems and devices. "Trickle" or "drip" techniques use 25 to 50 percent less water than standard hoses or sprinklers.

  • Be alert to water waste when you see it running down the driveway into the street or storm drain.

  • Check hoses, faucets and water devices periodically for leaks and malfunctions that can waste large amounts of water.

  • Reduce the amount of fertilizer applied to avoid water-demanding new growth during periods of limited rainfall.

  • Plant grass that withstands dry weather, if necessary.

Why Should You Care?

Using water efficiently will conserve supplies for future generations. Protecting and preserving the nation’s water supply is critical to our economic future and human health. WaterSense labeled products and services offer equivalent or superior performance. Purchasing WaterSense labeled products can help you protect the environment and help you save money on utility bills.

Test Your Water Sense

Think you know everything there is to know about water? You can't be sure until you've played EPA's new "Test Your WaterSense" online quiz! Maneuver the hero Hydro through water pipes and answer water-efficiency questions while avoiding water-wasting monsters such as Sogosaurus and Drainiac.

Click Here to take the Quiz.


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