1. Design and maintain your home landscaping in a way that minimizes water needs.
2. Consider letting your lawn go dormant rather than watering during summer months. If you do water, 1 to 1 1/2 inches per week total—including rainfall—should be sufficient. Visit University of Minnesota Extension for more specific suggestions. An inch of water on a 7,000-square-foot lawn equals more than 4,000 gallons.
3. If you have an automatic sprinkling system, inspect and repair it each spring. Use a rain sensor, and change settings monthly to correspond to actual lawn needs.
4. Collect water in a rain barrel and use it on a non-rainy day it to water your landscape plants. A good rainstorm can fill a 55-gallon barrel and provide enough water for many of your landscaping needs in the drier days that follow. Check your soil and water conservation district office, city water utility, or local garden center for advice on making or buying a rain barrel.
5. Fix dripping faucets and running toilets. Just 10 drips per minute equals 347 gallons down the drain in a year.
6. Install a low-flow showerhead.
7. Take shorter showers. One minute less each day adds up to more than 1,800 gallons saved in a year.
8. Put clothes in the laundry only when they truly need washing—and teach your children to do the same.
9. Run full loads in dishwashers.
10. Turn on the water only as needed when rinsing dishes.