What Are the Different Types of Water Conservation Systems?

C.B. Fox

There are a variety of water conservation systems that can be used to save water both indoors and outdoors. Water monitors can be used to track and control water usage. Systems, such as catchment or gray water systems, can be used to make use of water that might otherwise be wasted. Indoor systems that include the installation of a variety of devices can also help people conserve water.

Water from the toilet is known as blackwater and should not be reused.
Water from the toilet is known as blackwater and should not be reused.

For outdoor water usage, there are a variety of water conservation systems that can be installed. These systems monitor the amount of water that is used to water plants and ensures that the right amount is used. There are also advanced systems that monitor the weather so that plants are not watered if there has been enough rain. Monitors can also be used to track the amount of water used indoors.

The faucets in a building can be fitted with aerators so that less water is released by them.
The faucets in a building can be fitted with aerators so that less water is released by them.

Water catchment systems can also be used by people who wish to conserve water. These systems are usually placed on the roofs of houses so that rain that falls anywhere on the roof can be gathered into the catchment tank. In areas that see a fair amount of rainfall, a catchment system can provide for all the water needs of a household while, in other areas, it can be used to supplement the water pumped in from the city or county. The water collected by these water conservation systems can be used to wash laundry and dishes, to bathe with and to use in toilets. Untreated, it is not safe to drink.

Another type of water conservation system is known as a gray water recycling system. These systems collect the water that goes down the drains in sinks, showers, and bathtubs as well as the water that has been used by laundry and dishwashing appliances. The water used in toilets must be treated by the sanitation department and is not collected in a gray water system, however. After gray water is filtered and treated, it can be used to water plants.

Inside a house or commercial building there are also a variety of water conservation systems that can be put in place. All the faucets in a building can be outfitted with aerators so that less water is released by them. Water saving devices can also be attached to toilets so that the tank will hold less water or so that the amount of water used during each flush can be controlled. Together, these conservation systems can drastically reduce the amount of water used in a day.

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Discussion Comments


@titans62 - My aunt and uncle who live in Texas do the same thing. A lot of times, the city will institute a policy during the summer where you aren't supposed to water your lawn, so they can use that rainwater, and their lawn always looks the best.

It is always a shame to see all the water that goes to waste. I live in the Midwest where it rains a lot during the summer, and there are always thousands of gallons of water running down the street getting treated and turned into the same water that people pay to use to water their lawns and flush their toilets. I think it is really smart to buy a system that can reuse that resource.

I have even read about whole communities that collect rainwater to water public gardens and provide water for toilets and such.


A few years ago, I installed a system on my house to catch rainwater, and it is fantastic. We live in a neighborhood where it is expected that you will put a good deal of effort into maintaining you lawn, and that involves using a lot of water in the summer. I always felt guilty about watering the lawn, and saw a system that could collect rainwater from your house that you could use outside.

Basically, the collection system is just an inconspicuous plastic box that sits beside the house. All of the gutters have a special line running from them to the box. Mine has a small pump to force the water through a hose, but if you just want to dip water out into a bucket or something, you wouldn't need the pump.

I just connect the sprinkler up to the box and flip on the pump, and I'm able to reuse the rainwater and eliminate using more water. It is a really nice system, and was fairly inexpensive. I'll definitely save money in the long run.


@TreeMan - There are a lot of different uses for grey water. The big question would be the amount of money that can be spent on projects. The problem with collecting grey water is that the plumbing systems usually need to be installed at the same time as the main water lines, otherwise you have to dig up the lines and so forth. Since you're just doing this for a class, I'm guessing that there is little to no budget for those types of things.

It might be good in class to talk about these things, though, so that your classmates at least know these options are available and might be able to find a use for them later on. One of the biggest uses is reusing drainwater for toilets. This is already a common practice in Europe, but not so much in the US. Another common use in buildings with boilers is to use the wastewater for steam to run through radiators.


I had never heard of grey water before. My science class is working on coming up with a list of ways for our school to save water and energy and become more environmentally friendly. I think it is a great idea to recycle the water that has already been used once and put it to use for something else.

We do have a lot of flowerbed, so I think that is definitely something that could be done. What are some of the other uses for grey water? I can't really think of anything else that it would be good for.

After the water goes down the sink or drain, what happens to it then? Where is it stored until it gets used, and what happens if there is too much water? Also, wouldn't the soap and stuff in the water be bad for the plants?

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