With high temperatures expected to be in the 90’s throughout much of the week across the state, Illinois American Water is reminding customers to be conscientious about water usage. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, water consumption in the average American home on summer days can spike to 1,000 gallons per day, compared to 260 gallons per day during “off peak” season.  


With high temperatures expected to be in the 90’s throughout much of the week across the state, Illinois American Water is reminding customers to be conscientious about water usage. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, water consumption in the average American home on summer days can spike to 1,000 gallons per day, compared to 260 gallons per day during “off peak” season.   

Because increased water consumption can put a strain on local supply and a dent in home budgets, Illinois American Water sent out bill inserts to educate customers across the state about water conservation. This bill insert was created in conjunction with Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and EPA’s WaterSense Program. The insert, which was sent in June, promotes wise water use in relation to lawn watering and encourages customers to follow their local water usage and restriction ordinance. If a community does not have a local ordinance, it is suggested that lawn watering occur no more than twice a week, before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

According to Esther Dundore, Illinois American Water’s Director of Environmental Compliance and Water Quality, “Watering either in the early morning or evening helps to conserve water. As much as 30 percent of water can be lost to evaporation by watering during midday.”

Dundore also states that lawns should only be watered when needed. An easy test to tell if a lawn needs water is to simply walk across the grass. If the lawn springs back it doesn’t need watered, but if footprints are left on the lawn, water may be needed. An added benefit of watering less often is that fewer, deep-soaking waterings encourage deep root growth and stronger turf.   

Other consumer tips for conserving water include:

- Set your lawn mower one notch higher to make your lawn more drought-tolerant.

- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your sidewalk, driveway or patio.

- Forego the hose and wash your car with a bucket and sponge instead. According to EPA WaterSense, a hose left running can waste as much as six gallons per minute while a bucket and sponge uses only a few gallons to do the job.

- Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are full and adjust the water level of your washing machine to match the load size. If you have a water-saver cycle, use it.

- Keep a bottle of cold tap water in the refrigerator. You’ll avoid the cost and environmental impact of bottled water and you’ll have cold water available in the summer without running the faucet.

- A short shower is better than a bath! A full bathtub can require up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons.

- Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth can save eight gallons per day.

- Regularly check your toilet, faucets and pipes for leaks and have them fixed promptly. An easy test for toilet leaks from EPA

WaterSense: Place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color tints the water in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. 

Another method is to check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak. Downloadable leak detection kits are also available on Illinois American Water’s website (www.illinoisamwater.com) in the Learning Center under Wise Water Use.