Water Conservation and Efficiency

Last updated Sep. 15, 2016 - 1:57 pm

The City is fortunate to have ample rainfall in most years and two main water supply watersheds. The city promotes efficient use of these water resources during normal conditions and enacts conservation measures during times of limited supply such as severe drought. The City of Raleigh has initiated several programs to help educate our customers about the most water efficient technologies and to understand the City's mandatory conservation measures.

A note on ‘Efficiency’ and ‘Conservation’: Efficiency and conservation are often used interchangeably; however, they do have subtle differences. Water efficiency generally refers to technological changes such as upgrading to a high efficiency showerhead. Water conservation on the other hand reflects behavioral changes such as taking shorter showers.

Indoor Tips

Running water into a washing machine

There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you. The following household activities can have a huge impact on your water usage. Did you know…..

  • Full bath = 70 gallons
  • Regular Washing Machine = 40 gallons
  • High-efficiency washing machine = 28 gallons
  • 10 minute shower = 25 gallons
  • Leaving water on while you brush your teeth = 13 gallons
  • Older toilet = 7 gallons per a flush
  • Watersense toilet = 1.28 gallons per a flush

The Public Utilities Department offer the following programs to help you use water more efficiently in your home:

Showerhead Swap Out Program

Approximately 17 percent of indoor water usage can come from showering. Most showerheads use 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) - using 25 gallons for a 10-minute shower!

The City is now offering free 1.5 gpm high efficiency showerheads when you bring in an old showerhead.

Contact the Public Utilities Main Office at 919-996-3245 for more information


Think your home doesn’t have leaks? Think again! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that most leaks within homes go undetected. In fact, the EPA also estimates that more than 1 trillion gallons of water are lost each year from residential homes- that is enough water to fill approximately 1,587,301 Olympic-size swimming pools!

Fixing a leak can be quick and easy, and often doesn’t cost much. The water that is wasted can quickly add up to an expensive water bill, not to mention the wasted water and energy from just supplying that water to a home or business. A leaky toilet flapper can cost less than $5, but save more than 200 gallons per day.

The EPA states that 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. The trick is finding the culprit, as leaks can be either consistent or intermittent. Water can be lost from something as simple as a dripping faucet, a leaky toilet, or even an outside hose bib that may go undetected during the winter. Leaks can be easily avoided by conducting a simple check of plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems.

View our Fix-a-Leak brochure to help pinpoint common causes

Free Water Conservation Kit

The City is now offering free kits to all water and/or sewer customers. Kits include:

  • 2 High Efficiency bathroom aerators (uses only 0.5 gpm)
  • 1 multifunction kitchen aerator (uses 1.6 gpm)
  • 1 package of two toilet leak detection tablets

Contact the Public Utilities Main Office at 919-996-3245 for more information

Water Efficiency Checkups

Is your water bill higher than normal? Most homes and businesses have leaks that go undetected. Learn how to do a home water audit.

How to Practice Conservation in your Community

  • Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water-conscious community.
  • While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels.
  • Make suggestions to your employer to save water (and dollars) at work.
  • Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults.
  • Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and other uses.
  • Pick-up the phone and report significant water losses from broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water management district.

Outdoor Tips


Irrigation can contribute to a significant amount of water use during summer months. Due to the adoption of water efficient practices such as drought resistant landscaping and smart irrigation controllers, the city has seen a decline in overall irrigation use and mandatory irrigation days and times have been rescinded and are now included as voluntary actions. Irrigation of landscapes is recommended at a maximum of one inch per week.

Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater harvesting can help reduce the amount of potable water used.

Reuse Water

The city offers bulk reuse water free of charge to citizens and customer who have completed a certification training. This water can be used for irrigation, hydro-seeding, pesticide and herbicide application, concrete production, power/pressure washing, and dust control.

See more information about reuse water

Water Resources Education & Community Programs

Water Educational Presentation

The City of Raleigh's Public Utilities Department sponsors a variety of presentations that could be perfect for your Earth Month event! Our presentations focus on elements of water conservation, efficiency, water resources, and more! Contact our water conservation specialist Liz Weisbrot (919-996-3468) to talk about program options. Please include the following information in your request

  • Contact information (name and numbers)
  • Group/School/Organization (Children or Adults)
  • Age range of audience
  • Desired date and time for presentation

With adequate time, our Water Conservation Specialist may be able to tailor a program to meet your specific needs.

Permanent Conservation Measures

Permanent Water Conservation Measures Graphic

Do you know when you may water your lawn? ALL City of Raleigh water customers are currently under Permanent Conservation Measures. Many of these restrictions apply to irrigation usage, and are in effect everyday.

Learn more about Permanent Conservation Measures

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