Multi-family residential water saving tips
General water saving suggestions
- Read the water meter weekly to monitor water use and waste.
- Increase tenant awareness of water conservation.
- Install signs encouraging water conservation in stairways and elevators.
- Determine the quantity and purpose of water being used.
- Assign a tenant to monitor their water use and waste.
- Seek tenant suggestions on water conservation. Put suggestion boxes in prominent areas.
Saving water with building maintenance
- Check frequently for leaks in faucets and pipes and keep them drip-free. Leaks waste water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can often be repaired with only an inexpensive washer. Even the smallest drip from a worn washer can waste 75 or more litres a day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of litres of water before the problem is found and repaired.
- Turn off any unnecessary flows.
- Install low flow faucet aerators when possible. These can reduce the flow out of taps by up to 40 percent. These easy to install devices are available from your local plumbing retailer.
- Minimize the water used in cooling equipment in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations. Shut off cooling units when not needed.
- Replace existing toilets with WaterSense labelled models. New toilets use only 4.8 litres or less per flush while older toilets can use over 20 litres per flush. Two people, each using the bathroom five times per day, can waste up to approximately 150 litres per unit every day (2 x 5 x 15 = 150)
- Check toilets for leaks. Put a little food colouring or a dye tablet in the toilet tank. If, without flushing, the colour begins to appear in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately.
- Install toilet water saving devices. If you would like to retrofit your old toilet, early closure toilet flappers or toilet dams are available from your local plumbing retailer. These devices can save four to eight litres of water with every flush.
- Don't use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Every cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash flushed is 6 to 20 litres of water wasted.
- Install WaterSense labelled showerheads . This can reduce the flow up to 40 percent. These easy to install devices are available from your local plumbing retailer.
- Use your automatic dishwasher only for full loads.
- As appliances and fixtures wear out, replace them with ENERGY STAR certified and WaterSense labelled products .
Saving water outside
- Water the lawn only when it needs it. A good way to see if the lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back when you move, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, fetch the sprinkler.
- Water during the cool parts of the day. Early morning generally is better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus.
- Deep-soak the lawn. When you do water, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems.
- Don't water the sidewalk. Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden - not on paved areas.
- Avoid watering on windy days.
- Xeriscape (pronounced: ZEER-iss-skape) by planting drought-resistant trees and plants. Many beautiful trees and plants thrive with far less water than other species.
- Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture and also discourage weed growth.
- Remove weeds and unhealthy plants. This way, the plants will fully benefit from the water saved.
- Keep the grass long. Longer grass provides shade for the roots and holds water better than shorter grass.
- Be aware of what the plants need. In the spring and fall, most plants need about half the amount of water needed during the summer.
- Use a broom - not a hose - to clean driveways and sidewalks.
- Check frequently for leaks in hoses and couplings and keep them drip-free. Leaks outside may not seem as bad since they're not as visible, but they are just as wasteful as leaks inside.
The ideas presented above are suggestions and not intended as an endorsement by the City of Winnipeg Water and Waste Department of any method, process or specific product.