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Water Conservation

Water is our planet’s most precious resource, and it's vital that we work together to conserve the 1% of water available for our use.


On our blue planet, 97.5% of water is saltwater. Of the remaining 2.5% of water that's fresh, two-thirds is frozen in ice caps. The last third of freshwater lies within the ground, leaving a vital 1% available for human use and conservation.


Below, you’ll find ways to conserve water every day, from choices that you can make as an individual to those that your community can make together.

What You Can Do

Take shorter showers (5 minutes or under) and save up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute

Turn off the water while shaving or brushing your teeth.
Use reusable water bottles and water filters instead of buying bottled water.
Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator instead of under running water.
Turn off the water when hand-washing dishes and instead use a filled sink of water.

What Your Family Can Do

Set water-use goals for the family and household, and reward meeting goals.
Minimize number of loads of laundry and dishes washed.
Install low-flow showerheads. Read more about water-efficient showerheads.
Install low-flush toilets or adding water bottles/float boosters to tank in order to minimize water flushed. Read more on water-efficient toilets.
Collect water from snowmelt and rainfall to water your garden.
Add a layer of mulch around plants, gardens, and trees to retain water and discourage weeds.
Plan your lawns and gardens with the principles of xeriscaping, a method of landscaping that aims to be as water-efficient as possible. Read more about the basics of xeriscaping.
Plant drought-resistant ornamental grasses to reduce the amount of water needed to keep your lawn alive. Read more on ornamental grasses.

What Your Community Can Do

Install community rainwater catchers/barrels to collect shared water for gardens and lawns. Read more about rain barrels.
Agree upon lawn watering limits within your residential community if the city does not yet impose them.
Plant drought-resistant native plants in community gardens and spaces, as well as in personal lawns.
Share water conservation information in community centers, newsletters, and online.
Help create a plan with your residential neighborhood or town for minimizing damage to plants from deicing salts during the winter. Read more on the effects of deicing salts on soil moisture and plants.
Find out who your local water-policy decision makers are, and contact them to make your voice heard in your community.

Additional Resources

Read more about New England landscaping from the UMass database.
Check your indoor and outdoor water conservation progress with a checklist from UMass.
Review a list of drought-tolerant plants.
Read more general information on creating a drought-tolerant garden from the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association.
Check out tips on planting drought-resistant gardens in New England from the Boston Globe.