Californians use on average 196 gallons of water per day. An essential first step to conserve in your home, business, or other facility is to understand where you use water.
Residential users can follow simple steps to determine how and where water is used on their property, and find information, resources, and tools to save water. Commercial, industrial and multi-family properties can find helpful resources and best management practices to save water. Additionally, find resources to address leaks and understand your water bill, as well as how to request guides to conserve water.
Residential water saving steps & tips
To save water in your home, calculate how much water your household uses, and then conduct an indoor water survey and request free conservation gear.
Step 1: Sign up for a Home Water Use Report
Sign up for the WaterSmart web portal to help track and manage your water use. With the WaterSmart web portal, single-family residential customers can receive periodic Home Water Use Reports, sign up for leak alerts, and compare their water usage to others in their city, among other great features. The water retailers who currently offer this service are as follows:
- The City of Milpitas
- The City of Morgan Hill
- The City of Palo Alto
- San Jose Municipal Water
- The City of Santa Clara
If you are unsure which is your water retailer, check the Find My Water Retailer tool.
Step 2: Estimate water use
Begin by understanding how much water you use by looking at your water bill and the water use calculator.
Understanding your bill
Find information about understanding your water bill on the Find My Water Retailer page.
Water use calculator
Use the Alliance for Water Efficiency’s Home Water Works Calculator to quickly estimate how much water your household uses and compare it to a similar average and a highly-efficient home. It also shows you where to begin your home water conservation efforts.
Throughout the Home Water Works website, you’ll find useful tips and resources for saving water and money without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
Step 3: Perform a water wise indoor survey
Complete our Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Water Wise Indoor Survey Kit and identify where to look for potential leaks. It includes a step-by-step guide to teach you how to check for:
- Sink/Shower flow rates
- Meter leaks
- Toilet leaks
- General indoor leaks
After completing a physical or digital survey kit, you are eligible to receive free water conservation gear, such as a toilet flapper or low-flow sink aerators.
Get an indoor survey kit
The DIY Water Wise Indoor Survey Kit includes a step-by-step guide to performing your own indoor survey, a worksheet to request free water conservation items, toilet dye tablets, and a simple device to help you measure the flow rates of your sinks and showers.
You can complete the DIY Water Wise Indoor Survey Kit either:
Online: Use the kit’s online guide for immediate help. This does not include toilet dye tablets or the device to measure flow rates.
By mail: To get dye tablets and a simple flow-rate device along with a physical copy of the step-by-step guide, visit our online shopping cart!
Videos: Indoor survey demonstrations
Watch our how-to videos to learn how to perform several tests to check for leaks and flow rates.
- Meter leak test: Reading your water meter is one of the best ways to identify a leak. Your water retailer can help you find your meter box, and how to open it if you can’t find it near the sidewalk in front of your home.
- House line test: Find if leaks are indoors or out.
- Measure sink and shower flow rates: Figure which appliances are ready for an upgrade.
- Toilet leak test: Check your toilets for leaks with leak detection dye, available with the DIY Water Wise Indoor Survey.
Step 4: Get free water conservation gear
Step 5: Outdoor water conservation
Conserving water happens both inside and outside your home.
Valley Water offers free outdoor irrigation surveys to qualifying single-family and small multi-family sites (under ½-acre) in Santa Clara County. During a Water-Wise Irrigation Survey, a trained irrigation professional will complete a comprehensive evaluation of your irrigation system. See if you qualify.
Other tips and resources
Save Our Water offers several conservation resources, including:
Commercial, industrial and multi-family complexes water conservation
Using water more efficiently can reduce your business’s risk to future water shortages and increasing costs. Find best management practices, informational resources, free services and rebates to help your facility start saving water today.
Services available from Valley Water
Valley Water provides several services to help commercial businesses, industrial sites, and multi-family complexes save water. These include:
Ideas to get you started
Whether you manage an office building, school, hotel, hospital, restaurant, or another type of facility, it’s important to ask:
What Water Savings Strategies should you pursue and prioritize? The best place to start in familiarizing yourself with options for your business to save water and money while conserving our natural resources.
What are the Best Management Practices for your business to be implementing already? Provides an overview of tips for operating, maintaining, retrofitting options, and calculating savings potential and Return-On-Investment of technologies and behaviors to implement.
What free tools and resources are available to identify where you can save? Offers water assessment checklists that range from simple and easy to use, to targeted for specific facilities like hotels and multi-family properties.
How can you better measure your water use so you can manage it? This free online Portfolio Manager tool from Energy Star will help. Join the 40% of commercial buildings in the US that already use this free tool for managing your energy and water use today.
Multi-family properties & hotels resources
- Find free resource guides and tools to help you understand, manage, and improve water use efficiency cost-effectively.
- Learn how to assess, upgrade, and track water savings by joining more than 860 hotels in the US in the H2Otel Challenge. You’ll find case studies, webinars, and easy to use tools to save water and money while maintaining the level of service your guests expect.
The average family can waste 180 gallons per week, or more than 9,000 gallons of water annually, from leaks alone. Even small leaks that go undetected can waste gallons of water every day.
The 10-minute checklist from WaterSense [PDF] will help you locate potential leaks on your property. Our Do-It-Yourself Water Wise Survey will walk you through many of the steps covered in this checklist.
Santa Clara County residents with a valid library card can check out a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Home Energy Saving Toolkit from participating libraries. This free service includes water audit tools and a user manual [PDF].
Do you have a pool that may be leaking? This video should help find a leak in your pool (from Salt River Project in Arizona).
Request a Practical Plumbing Guide to help you fix leaks in your home vising our online shopping cart.
In less than 6 minutes, learn how to check your sprinklers for leaks, from the City of Santa Barbara.
Learn how to check your drip system for leaks, from the City of Santa Barbara.
Video: Become a leak detective at home
To request water conservation literature, visit our online shopping cart. Literature includes magazines on practical plumbing, easy water-wise gardening, gardening for wildlife, soil health, and more.
Call the Water Conservation Hotline at (408) 630-2554 or email [email protected].