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Four ways to save water on Earth Day

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A water color image of planet Earth
Happy Earth Day! It's a great day to learn how you can make more Earth-friendly choices. These tips will help you lower your water use to save money on your water/sewer/stormwater bill.

Four ways to save water on Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22nd! It’s the perfect day to stop and think of ways to make our lifestyles more Earth-friendly.

Most of us are spending more time at home than ever before.  As a result, you might have noticed your home sewer, stormwater, water bill go up over the past year. There are lots of things you can do to lower your water use at home and lower your bill.

Make a plan to start these water-saving practices this Earth Day and continue every day:

1. Swap the showerhead!

Save water (and money) by installing water-efficient fixtures in your home. Efficient showerheads or aerators for bathroom and kitchen faucets can save a gallon (or more!) per minute.

We have just the thing to get you started – a FREE conservation kit! Each kit contains water-efficient faucet aerators, a showerhead, a five-minute shower timer and more. Click here to order your kit today!

2. Test your toilet for leaks.

Is your toilet leaking? No? Test it anyway. A leaky toilet can waste hundreds of gallons a day without you even knowing it.

If your toilet starts running even though it has not been flushed, it definitely needs to be repaired. But some leaks aren’t so easy to find.

One easy way to test if your toilet has a slow (silent) leak is a toilet dye test:

  1. Place a dye tab or 10 drops of food coloring in the toilet tank.
  2. Wait 10-15 minutes. (Don’t flush!)
  3. If color appears in the bowl, you have a slow leak and your toilet flapper needs repairs.

3. Take shorter showers

Make it a goal to keep your shower under 5 minutes. Some suggestions to help you shorten your shower:

    • Set a timer: Move your kitchen timer to the bathroom or set your phone timer (or order a FREE shower timer from the Water Bureau) to keep track of time. Challenge yourself to shower in the least amount of time possible!
    • Two-part shower: Turn the faucet off after your body and hair is wet. Then you can take your time to apply soap and shampoo thoroughly. When you are ready for the final rinse, turn the faucet on again.
    • Make a playlist: Most songs are 3.5 - 5 minutes. Listening to a song while you shower will help you keep track of time – and have fun!

4. Consider a toilet upgrade

How old is your toilet? A toilet’s age can tell a lot about how much water it uses. Today, the most efficient toilets use 1.28 gallons per flush or less.

Most toilets have a label that tells you how much water they use per flush. You can also look inside the tank for a manufacturer’s stamp that shows the year the toilet was made. If it was before 1994, it could use 3.5 or even 5 gallons per flush!

Manufacture date

Estimated flush volume (gallons per flush)

Gallons used per year

Cost per person per year

*2018 to present (WaterSense- labeled)

1.28 or less



1994 to 2017**




1980 to 1994




1950 to 1980




Before 1950




Assumes the July 1, 202020 residential rate for 1 Ccf at $17.143 ($11.55 for sewer and $5.593 for water). National estimates say that each person flushes the toilet five times daily.

* In Oregon since October 1st, 2017, toilets that only use 1.28 gallons per flush or less (EPA WaterSense-labeled) were required in one & two family homes. If your toilet was replaced by a licensed plumber or your home was built since that time, you should have an efficient toilet installed.  You can always check the model to be sure.

**1.6 gallon per flush toilets were required in 1992 in Oregon, nationally in 1994.

If you replace your old toilet with a new WaterSense model, apply for a $50 rebate from the Portland Water Bureau!

Questions? Contact Water Efficiency at 503-823-4527 or