Be water smart—tips to conserve water

Public Works

Conserving water is important for our communities. Using less water helps protect our environment and ensures we have enough supply for emergencies. 

Did you know the average household in York Region uses about 716 litres of water per day? That’s more than two full bathtubs worth of water.Water usage stats

There are many easy ways to check and reduce your water consumption.

Detecting leaks

Detecting leaks can save you money and avoid serious problems in your home.

A leaking toilet can waste a great deal of water (up to 200,000 litres per year) but can go almost unnoticed. Unlike other leaks, there is often little to no sound associated with the leak. To find out if a toilet in your home is leaking, perform this simple test:

  • Add a few drops of food colouring or a toilet leak tablet to the tank 
  • Wait 15 minutes 
  • Check the bowl for colour  

If the colour has seeped into the bowl without flushing, there is an internal leak that needs fixing. 

Conduct a whole home leak test at least once a year. This test will detect any large leaks or a few smaller leaks in your home:

  • Turn off all water-using fixtures and appliances (including small ones like water softeners and water filters)
  • Record water meter reading
  • Wait 15 to 30 minutes and make sure no one uses any water during this time 
  • Record water meter reading

If the number has gone up, you may have a large leak or a couple of smaller leaks requiring further investigation. Contact a licensed plumber to have the leak repaired as soon as possible.

Tips for watering lawns and gardens

  • Aerate every other fall to limit soil compaction, increase water absorption and help to reduce thatch
  • Top dress every spring or fall with compost; rake into the lawn to a depth of three centimetres
  • Mowing height should be six centimetres to eight centimetres to shade roots and prevent weed seed germination

Tips for conserving water in the home

  • Turn the tap off while you brush your teeth; you can save up to 16 litres of water each time
  • Fill the sink instead of letting water run while shaving, washing vegetables or washing dishes by hand
  • Only run the dishwasher with a full load
  • Only run the washing machine with a full load
  • Use the correct setting for large, medium and small loads

For more information on water conservation, including even more tips for reducing your useage, visit