Although summer usually marks the peak of water shortages in Massachusetts, saving water should be a year-round goal. Water conservation helps maintain water levels in rivers and streams, which is essential for protecting habitats as well as the quality of the water that runs to the sea. Sufficient water supplies are also important for the safety and support of people, wildlife, recreational uses, and commercial and industrial sectors, such as agriculture and forestry (including controlling wildfires).
To support efforts to save water, the Massachusetts Water Resources Commission developed Conserve MA Water, an online toolkit that provides a clearinghouse of information for Massachusetts residents, municipalities, businesses, farmers, and educators. Conserve MA Water includes tools, tips, and resources, such as a home water use calculator, drought alerts, a guide to understand your water bill, social media outreach materials, and much more.
This CZ-Tip provides specific links to the Conserve MA Water toolkit—as well as additional local, state, and federal resources—organized into the following categories: Information on Drought Conditions, Water Conservation in Your Home, Water Conservation in Your Yard, Water Conservation in Your Business, and General Water Conservation Information.
Information on Drought Conditions
- The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) maintains a Drought Management page with up-to-date information on drought issues in the Commonwealth, maps and charts that label which regions are experiencing drought conditions, and data used to determine drought conditions. DCR also maintains a Monthly Water Conditions page with information on monthly precipitation and water levels.
- The Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force (DMTF) provides a Drought Tips, Tools and Resources page, which includes Drought Alerts and Current City and Town Water Restrictions.
- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) New England Water Science Center website has links to data, tools, maps, and publications on streamflow, groundwater, and precipitation, including a WaterWatch drought page and USGS drought publications.
- The National Integrated Drought Information System offers extensive information on drought conditions nationwide, forecasts, and a variety of tools for planning for and dealing with droughts.
Water Conservation in Your Home
- The Conserve MA Water site includes a home water use calculator and many resources for indoor water conservation.
- The DMTF page on Drought Tips, Tools and Resources gives dozens of ideas for reducing water use in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry, as well as outdoors.
- The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) Tips for Saving Water at Home lists easy ways to conserve water (and reduce your water bill).
- MWRA's Water-Efficient Appliances and Fixtures page gives information on low-flow toilets and water-efficient appliances.
- The Operation WaterSense Program from MWRA offers free water-saving fixtures to its residential customers.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense Program provides water efficiency information and links to what you can do to save water, the benefits of water efficiency, a database of water-efficient products, and an online water-savings calculator.
Water Conservation in Your Yard
- The outdoor water conservation section of the Conserve MA Water site includes planting lists, design tips, and dozens of resources.
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Lawns and Landscapes in Your Watershed web page provides information on landscape design and maintenance that protects your family and local water resources.
- The Water Use and Water Conservation web page by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources gives tips on reducing the amount of water used for lawn and landscape maintenance.
- MWRA's Garden and Landscaping Water Conservation Tips gives detailed information on saving water with your lawn, along with other water-conscious landscaping approaches
- More Than Just a Yard: Ecological Landscaping Tools for Massachusetts Homeowners (PDF, 1 MB) from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs gives details on environmentally friendly landscaping, which includes information on water conservation.
- Stormwater Solutions for Homeowners Fact Sheet: "Green" Lawn and Garden Practices by CZM discusses environmentally friendly lawn and garden practices, such as planting native species, conserving water, and reducing fertilizer and chemical use.
- CZM’s Coastal Landscaping website provides information on native plants that are appropriate for coastal conditions and require less or no watering.
- The Greenscapes website includes information on water conservation. Their downloadable Greenscapes Guide describes how to use attractive, nature-friendly landscaping practices to conserve water, reduce pollution, support wildlife, and protect against climate change.
- Smart Landscaping: A Guide to Water-Efficient Irrigation from the Ashton Real Estate Group has extensive how-to information on measuring water needs, drip irrigation, sprinkler systems, hand watering, and more.
- Information on Outdoor Water Conservation from Angie’s List details why and how to save water outdoors and gives conservation tips for both outdoor and indoor water use.
- Water-Smart Landscapes (PDF, 2 MB) by EPA explains advantages and principles of wise water use and provides photographs of water-smart landscape approaches.
- EPA's WaterSense Program page on outdoor water use gives links to information on designing a water-efficient landscape, watering wisely, and finding water-saving landscape irrigation services, along with a photo gallery of water-efficient landscapes from across the country.
Water Conservation in Your Business
- The Conserve MA Water site offers water use audits and best practices for industrial, commercial, and institutional water conservation for both indoor and outdoor water use.
- The Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) provides a range of support and information to help facilities improve water use efficiency, comply with federal and state regulations, reduce wastewater discharge, and implement other effective water conservation measures. See the OTA Water Conservation and Wastewater Recommendations page for details.
- Overview of Water Conservation Techniques and Resources for Massachusetts Industries (PDF, 118 KB), a fact sheet by OTA, gives information on developing and implementing a water conservation strategy.
- The OTA Water Conservation and Wastewater Case Studies page has links to descriptions of how OTA has helped Massachusetts businesses conserve water.
- MWRA's Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Water Management web page can help industries, businesses, offices, and institutions implement practical, cost-effective water conservation and management techniques.
- EPA's WaterSense Commercial Buildings page gives links to EPA technical assistance efforts for businesses, along with water saving tips.
General Water Conservation Information
- H2OUSE is a virtual encyclopedia of DIY strategies for your home and includes a Water Conservation in and Around Your Home page that features information on fixtures, appliances, hot water systems, pools and spas, water meters, landscaping and other outdoor water use, and alternative water supplies, including information on available financial incentives and rebates.
- More than 100+ Ways Water Saving Tips are available from wateruseitwisely.com.
- 20 Ways to Conserve Water at Home from kitchenguyd.com gives practical ideas for saving water in the kitchen, bathroom, yard, and more.
- Water Conservation Resources - Save Every Drop! from newair.com gives links to dozens of sources of information on conserving water—from scary water usage statistics to the little things that add up to big water savings.
- 8 Ways to Save Water While Traveling and at Home from Go Green Travel Green provides tips on saving water while preparing to travel and during your trip.