Tips to Conserve Water

In Salem, water conservation plays an important role in protecting water resources. Salem gets its drinking water from sources such as the North Santiam River and Detroit Reservoir. These bodies of water are also important resources for threatened fish species and for recreation.​​

Just a few simple changes at home and work can save water, protect fish species when river flows are lower during the summer, and save you money. Even posting a sign about water conservation tips can be helpful.


  • Repair leaks. Check faucets, toilets, hose connections, and pipes for leaks. A leaky faucet that drips one drop of water per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year. Here's how to look for toilet leaks.
  • A low-flow shower head can reduce water consumption significantly.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Select water-saving devices when purchasing washers, refrigerators, and toilets.
  • Select the proper load size when doing laundry.
  • Run your dishwasher only when full. Avoid using extra cycles. Scrape instead of pre-rinsing.
  • ​Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost your vegetable waste.
  • Keep a container of cool water in the refrigerator instead of running the faucet.


  • Washing cars. Rinse car once, wash from bucket, rinse quickly again. Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose.
  • Sweep instead of hosing down pavement.
  • Check faucets and automatic sprinkler systems annually for leaks.
  • Consider installing a rain sensor on your sprinkler system if it does not have one.
  • Consider an eco-lawn.

Lawn and garden

  • Water in the morning (before 9 a.m.) or in the evening (after 6 p.m.) rather than mid-day can reduce the amount of evaporation that occurs by 30 percent.
  • Water slowly and selectively during cool, windless hours.
  • Use mulch in the garden and around shrubs to save moisture.
  • Grow plants which don't require much water (Water-Wise Plants for the Willamette Valley).
  • Lawns need only 1 inch of water each week to grow strong and deep roots. Find your Weekly Watering Number.

Other information on water conservation

​Water Management and Conservation Plan

The Water Management and Conservation Plan has been created to guide development, financing and implementation of water management and conservation programs. It is intended to be a working document, consistent with the City’s adopted water and wastewater master plans, which will inform future development of the City’s water system.​

Salem water plans

Salem’s water system serves a population of 192,000 and that number increases every year. Over the next decade, demand for water will approach Salem’s current capacity. Looking ahead, Salem’s Public Works Department has begun a comprehensive process to evaluate long-term demand and answer key questions.

Did you know that on average, one person uses over 100 gallons of water per day?

Contact us if you would like a one-inch per week watering gauge.

Contact us

Water Quality Hotline