Water-Smart Solutions: 5 Sustainable Alternatives To Conserve Water

Water conservation doesn’t need to be complicated. Often, small, simple fixes can help to reduce overall water consumption by hundreds and even thousands of gallons over time. These 5 techniques offer a sustainable approach to water conservation that might surprise you.


Waterless Toilets

In the United States, roughly 24% of daily water consumption in the average household comes from flushing. This equates anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 gallons of water consumed per household, per year, from the toilet alone. Of course, this number varies depending on household size, flushing frequency, and average water output of a given toilet model.

Encouraging water conservation, waterless toilets have begun to carve out their name in the market. Generally, there are three types of waterless toilets that consumers can choose from: composting toilets, incinerating toilets, and dry flush systems.

While all waterless toilets have their pros and cons, these systems can spare homes and businesses from significant amounts of water consumption. Waterless urinals are an optimal choice as well, and may be more accessible to consumers due to lower costs and easier


Rain Barrels

Rain catchment is one of the simplest and cheapest water conservation techniques. If you’re a plant lover, gardener, farmer, or are just a conscious homeowner looking to reduce your water usage, consider setting up a rain barrel system.

Rain barrels are large containers that can be left out in the open to catch rainfall, or they can be positioned with rain gutters to catch water that falls from a roof. While this water should not be used for hygienic purposes, it is perfectly safe to use in gardens, for lawn care and clean up, indoor and outdoor plants, and to wash outdoor equipment. Harvesting rainwater can save the average household 1,300 gallons of water annually, according to the EPA.



You may think that the purpose of mulch is for its aesthetic look that makes any garden or yard appear put together. While mulch does have a certain curb appeal, the purpose of it is actually deeper than meets the eye. 

Outdoor gardens, trees, and plants require 20 to 40 gallons of water per week for optimal growth and maintenance. It can become time consuming to frequently upkeep, and can certainly increase water bills and usage. 

Mulching is used to reduce water evaporation from the surface, allowing trees and plants to remain moist for longer periods of time. By using mulch, 70% less water evaporates into the air; reducing the frequency of watering and conserving as much as 10 gallons per week, depending on the size of the garden or planting space.


Responsible Irrigation

Irrigation is used to supply large land areas with water, including farms and gardens, golf courses, and residential lawns. Common irrigation methods utilize sprinkler channels that provide on-demand water availability. 

The issue? Most irrigation systems are set up poorly, are not maintained regularly. and ultimately waste an estimated 25,000 gallons of water per year, depending on the scale of the land area and type of irrigation system. Roughly 50% of water applied outdoors is lost to wind, evaporation, runoff and erosion.

If irrigation is to be used, it should be planned well, maintained regularly, and monitored to assess water usage. Drip irrigation systems have been found to be the most efficient when it comes to water conservation.


Water Recycling

Water recycling can be done in many ways, but the most popular method is by recycling greywater. Greywater is what remains after bathing, doing dishes, and the drained water after washing cycles. 

This water can be collected and reused for gardening and other outdoor maintenance. Greywater harvesting can help save upwards of 40 gallons of water per person, per day. This method is especially useful in areas that are prone to drought and do not experience significant rainfall.

Greywater collection systems and irrigation technologies are available on the market for those ready to go all in. Moreover, collecting or siphoning greywater into containers for later use is an affordable and effective way to get started.