Outdoor watering
20 Ways to Help Conserve Water
Conservation, | | Return

Torrential downpours are typical of a Florida summer, but summer 2023 was not typical. The Tampa Bay region received only 3.2 inches of rainfall during September instead of the normal 7 inches or more. Hot, dry weather and inconsistent rainfall have put the region in a Stage 1 water shortage. Learn about the water shortage stages.

Conserving water during times of drought ensures there is enough water for people and the environment. Here are 20 ways you can help save our most precious natural resource:


  • Water only on your designated watering days. Find your local utility’s watering restrictions by entering your zip code here https://www.tampabaywater.org/tampa-bay-watering-restrictions.
  • Skip watering if it rains at least ½ inch on or just before watering day. Better yet, with cooler weather coming, you may not need to water at all.
  • Make sure your irrigation system is free of leaks or blocked sprinkler heads and that your sprinklers are aimed at your yard instead of the street or sidewalks.
  • Install smart irrigation controllers to monitor soil or weather conditions so you water only when you need to. Residents may qualify for a free device and installation or up to a $250 rebate from Tampa Bay Water Wise.
  • Use a hose nozzle when hand watering so the water doesn’t run constantly.
  • Install a Florida-friendly landscape that uses less water than turf lawns.
  • Group your plants according to their water needs.
  • Mulch flowerbeds to reduce evaporation.
  • Install a rain barrel to catch rainwater for later use.
  • Use a broom or leaf blower instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.


  • Take shorter showers and turn off the water while you lather up. Each minute you decrease your shower time saves about 2.5 gallons of water.
  • Replace your shower head with a newer, water-efficient showerhead to cut your shower water use in half.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Swap your old toilet for a high-efficiency toilet to reduce your water usage. Learn more and see if you qualify for a rebate up to $100 at Tampa Bay Water Wise.
  • Run your dishwasher and washing machines only when they are full. If it’s time to replace your dishwasher or washing machine, look for Energy Star® certified appliances to help save water over the lifetime of the appliance.
  • Soak pots and pans in water instead of letting water run as you scrape them clean.
  • Use the water left over from cooking pasta or boiling potatoes (once it has cooled) to water your plants. Your plants will benefit from the nutrients in the water.
  • If you own a freshwater fish tank, use the old water from cleaning the tank to water plants; fertilizer is built in.
  • Have pets? When giving them clean water, use the old water to water plants instead of pouring it down the drain.
  • Monitor your water bill for unusually high use that can indicate leaks.