10 Tips to Cool Our Water Use This Summer

Water drop by Enid Martindale via Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo by Enid Martindale via Flickr Creative Commons.

The summer of 2016 is shaping up to be one of the hottest and driest on record for our region. While this has been great for beachgoers, it has challenged the health and resilience of waterways and water supplies throughout southern Ontario. Many of us look to the forecast and ask – where’s the rain?

Environmental Canada doesn’t expect conditions to turn around quickly. Total rainfall through May, June and July has been less than 50 per cent of the normal levels we typical see.

We can all do our part to reduce water consumption and conserve resources. Here are a few easy tips that will reduce your personal usage and save money:


  1. Install low-flow toilets or convert your existing toilet into a low-flow model simply by adding a water bottle (up to two litres in size) filled with sand or pebbles in the tank. This will save up to two litres of water each time you flush!
  2. Only run the dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load.
  3. Turn faucets off when brushing your teeth or when lathering your hands during hand washing.
  4. Fix leaky faucets immediately. A leaky faucet that drips once per minute can waste almost 130 litres of water per year. A constant drip can waste 182 litres per week! That’s enough water to meet the daily recommended intake for one person for three months!
  5. Limit your shower to five minutes, or simply reduce your shower time by a minute or two. Every minute trimmed can save 2,100 litres of water a year.


  1. Select native plants and shrubs for your garden. They adapt well to local climate and soil conditions.
  2. Install a rain barrel at the bottom of your downspout to collect precipitation. A typical barrel can fill up after only one rain. This water can be used for your garden or potted/hanging plants.
  3. Apply mulch to the surface of your garden and around trees. Just five to eight centimetres of mulch can help retain moisture, moderate soil temperatures, control erosion and suppress weeds.
  4. Make sure you don’t cut your grass too short. Set your lawnmower blade to cut no lower than six to eight centimetres. This will keep the roots shaded and the lawn will hold water more effectively.
  5. If you must water your lawn do so before 9 a.m. to reduce evaporation and scorching from the sun. Watering the lawn slowly avoids run-off and helps the soil absorb water. Please check for any water-use bans or restrictions in your region/municipality first.

Visit our website for more tips and resources on water conservation.

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