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Water Conservation

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Orange County is currently in the midst of a prolonged drought, classified as an "exceptional drought" by the NC Drought Monitor. New information will be forthcoming as this web page is updated from 2005. In the meantime, here are some basic tips for water conservation that citizens may wish to consider.


Eliminate leaks by replacing old gaskets. A dripping faucet can waste 3,600 gallons a year.

Install faucet aerators.

Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge, instead of running water until it is cold.

Don’t leave the water running while rinsing dishes.

Don’t use a garbage disposal.  Certain food scraps can be composted or wrapped in newspaper and placed in the garbage.

Only use dishwasher with full loads, and use the ‘water-saver’ setting if available.

Don’t rinse dirty dishes before loading into dishwasher; scrape clean and let the machine do the rest.

Don’t thaw frozen food under running water.

During water restrictions use paper plates, and single-service drinking and eating utensils.

Use bagged ice.

Use ready-to-serve drinks and food items (boxed juices, fruit cups, etc.).


If you hear running water in your toilet tank, adjust the leaky float valve or replace the flapper and any other faulty hardware. A family of four can save 14,000 gallons of water per year by using a high efficiency toilet.

Check your toilet for leaks—put food coloring in the upper tank, if you see color in the bowl you have a leak.

Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket.

Install a ‘toilet tank bag’ in your toilet tank to reduce the water used per flush. Don’t use a brick, it may crumble and cause damage.

Take shorter showers. A 8 minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water.

Don’t leave the water running while rinsing, shaving, or brushing teeth.

Install faucet aerators and or water saving showerheads.

Flush less frequently.


Check for and repair leaky faucets, hose connections and sprinkler valves.

During water restrictions: Do not waste precious water on lawns, plants, and cars.

During water restrictions save condensation from air conditioning units to water plants.

Capture rain water in a rain barrel.  Cover with a tight screen to prevent mosquito breeding.

Water slowly, thoroughly, and as infrequently as possible to promote deep roots and healthy plants.

Use plants that don’t require a lot of water.

Sweep driveways and sidewalks versus washing them down with the hose.

Mulch all plant beds to reduce evaporation, weeds, and soil temperature.

Never let the water run unnecessarily.

Limit car washing. Use a bucket and hose with a spray attachment.