Every Drop Counts


Did you know that the average American uses 100 gallons of water every day? But we can all reduce our water use by as much as 30% by taking a few simple steps, such as installing high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and using water efficiently in our yards. Small changes made by Chicagoans can have a tremendous impact on the sustainability of our water supply, such as:

  • Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving. This can save over 500 gallons per month per person.

  • Install high-efficiency toilets. Toilets alone consume nearly 30% of household water consumption. A leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day.

  • Install high-efficiency washing machines. This can save energy and water.

  • Fill the sink with dishwater instead of washing dishes with an open tap and rinse all the dishes at once. This saves 10 gallons per wash.

  • If you use a dishwasher, wait until you have a full load to run it. Dishwashers typically use half the energy, one-sixth the water, and less soap than washing dishes in the sink.

  • Garden with plants that are native to Chicago. This can reduce outdoor water use by 20-50%.

  • Use rain barrels to capture rainwater for watering lawns and gardens.

  • Use a timer or a rain sensor to monitor lawn irrigation: Sprinkler systems use thousands of gallons of water per cycle. Installing a timer or rain sensor will save money and water by preventing needless watering.

The City of Chicago Department of Water Management is committed to protecting the future of our water supply through water-efficient practices, products, and services. That is why we have partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program, a national product labeling program that makes it easy to identify water-efficient products that perform as well or better than standard models.

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Why Should You Care?

  • Using water efficiently will conserve supplies for future generations. Lake Michigan has lost almost 32 trillion gallons of water--the equivalent of over 45 million Olympic-sized swimming pools of water-- over the past decade. Our region could face water shortages by 2050 if we fail to take decisive action.

  • More than 5.3 million people-- 41% of the population of the State of Illinois, depend on the City of Chicago Department of Water Management to provide a reliable supply of drinking water from Lake Michigan.

  • Protecting and preserving the nation’s water supply is critical to our economic future and human health.

Test Your WaterSense

Think you know everything there is to know about water? You can’t be sure until you’ve played EPA’s new “Test Your WaterSense” online quiz!

Maneuver Flo, the We’re for Water “spokesgallon”, through water pipes and answer water-efficiency questions while avoiding water wasting monsters such as Sogosaurus and Drainiac.

WaterSense Labeled Products

WaterSense labeled products, new homes, and professional certification programs are independently certified to meet EPA’s efficiency and performance criteria, using at least 20 percent less water and performing as well as or better than standard models. Purchasing WaterSense labeled products can help you protect the environment and help you save money on utility bills. Look for the WaterSense label or search for labeled products on the product search on the WaterSense website.

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Volunteer for a meter today to save water and money! Please go to www.metersave.org or call 311.

City of Chicago
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor
Department of Water Management Thomas H. Powers, PE Commissioner
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