Water Conservation: It Takes Energy – And Money – To Pump, Heat, Treat, And Deliver Water


Here are some simple ways we can conserve water every day

We may have a reputation as a rainy state, but we Oregonians have first-hand knowledge of drought. Fortunately, we can save both energy and money by conserving water year-round.

The first place to start: hot water. The average household in the Pacific Northwest spends an estimated 10 to 15 percent of its energy bill on hot water. When we waste hot water, we also waste the energy it takes to heat the water. Non-heated water has an energy cost, too. It takes power to gather, purify and distribute water, so part of your water and sewer bill is really an energy bill.

Save Energy by Saving Water

  1. If you have to run your faucet/shower for more than a few seconds to get hot water, your water pipes are likely too exposed to the elements. Wrap all pipes in unheated areas that deliver hot water.
  2. Install high-performance showerheads and faucet aerators. You don’t need a cascade of water like Multnomah Falls to get your hair clean.
  3. Set your water heater temperatures to between 120°F and 130°F, unless you have a dishwasher requiring a higher setting. Check your dishwasher manual. It will also save you money to wrap insulation around your water heater.
  4. Consider washing your clothes at cooler temperatures.
  5. Repair leaky faucets. Even a slow drip can waste up to 450 gallons of water a month.

Other Tips and Tools

  1. Consider more efficient appliances, including toilets – new models dramatically reduce water use while providing high functionality. The U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program helps consumers choose water-efficient equipment.
  2. Turn off bathroom and kitchen water when not in use, and wash only full loads of dishes and laundry.
  3. Check irrigation lines, hoses, and sprinklers for leaks, and ensure you’re watering vegetation, not your sidewalk or driveway. Install timers to water only during early morning or late evening and for select periods of time.
  4. When possible, use local water. Bottled water likely came to your store by truck.

How ODOE Can Help

Rebates and other incentives may be available to help with these activities. Visit the Energy Trust of Oregon or your local utility to find out more.