Conservation Tips

On average, people in Madison use 55 gallons of water per person every day (this number includes people living in single-family homes, duplexes and apartments. For single-family homes and duplexes only, average daily use is 60.9 gallons per person). Below is a look at how water use breaks down for a typical American family. You can take a look at your own detailed usage patterns by using our online conservation tool.

Where your water goes

In the summer months, overall water use in Madison spikes by 25%, largely because of outdoor watering. Almost half of all water used indoors goes to flushing toilets and doing laundry.
Indoor water use

Ways to Conserve

Look for leaks
In the U.S., a trillion gallons of drinking water are lost every year because of plumbing leaks. Use Madison Water Utility's online conservation tool to view your hourly usage and spot plumbing problems before they get out of hand. Click here for some tips on how to check for common household issues that could be costing you water.

Set up a water usage threshold alert 
Want to get your water use down to 60 gallons a day? How about 50? Use our online conservation tool to set up a threshold alert and you'll get an email when your usage surpasses whatever number of gallons you choose.

Replace that old toilet and get a $100 bill credit
Madison Water Utility's Toilet Rebate Program has not only saved more than a half billion gallons of water since its launch in 2009, it's also saved our customers more than $2.5 million in water & sewer charges. Replacing one old toilet with an EPA-rated high efficiency model can conserve 4,000 - 10,000 gallons of water every year. And it's not just about saving water, it's about saving the energy it takes to pump and distribute water. The Toilet Rebate Program alone has saved enough energy to power 130 Madison homes for a year.

Install water-saving devices
Faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads can save thousands of gallons of water a year and cut down on your hot water bill.

Invest in water-efficient appliances
A family of four can conserve 6,000 gallons of water a year and save energy by investing in a high-efficiency washing machine. Making the switch to a water-efficient dish washer could save 1,000 gallons a year.

Conservation measues

Changing Habits

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Only run the washing machine or dishwasher when the load is full.
  • Shorten your showers by one or two minutes.
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways instead of spraying them off with a hose.
  • Track your water use with our online conservation tool to see which tasks are using the most water in your household

Outdoor Conservation

  • An established lawn only needs one inch of water per week. Use a rain gauge and take a look at UW Extension's lawn watering guide.
  • Water only in the morning or evening.
  • Raise your lawnmower height to a 3-4" cut.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn, spreading out clumps; the clippings will disappear after giving up their moisture and nitrogen.
  • Retain soil moisture by adding compost or bark mulch around trees and shrubs
  • Use a rain barrel. Capturing water from gutters and downspouts in a well-designed rain barrel conserves the municipal supply while providing the best water for lawn and garden.
  • Use automatic shutoff attachments on hoses.
    Outdoor conservation graphic



Image of dripping faucet

In Wisconsin, frozen, burst pipes can be common in the winter. Consider having your indoor plumbing and outdoor irrigation system professionally winterized before temps start to drop.

Heading out of town during the winter months? Check your hourly usage with our online conservation tool from any computer or smartphone. If you see water being used when no one is home, you likely have a leak inside or outside your home.