Water Saving Tips for Restaurants

General Suggestions

  • Increase employee awareness of water conservation.
  • Seek employee suggestions on water conservation; locate suggestion boxes in prominent areas.
  • Conduct water conservation suggestion contests.
  • Install signs encouraging water conservation in employee and customer restrooms.
  • When cleaning with water is necessary, use budgeted amounts.
  • Read water meter weekly to monitor success of water conservation efforts.
  • Assign an employee to monitor water use and waste.
  • Determine the quantity and purpose of water being used.
  • Determine other methods of water conservation.
  • Provide table signs urging water conservation.
  • Serve water only when requested by customer.

Building Maintenance

  • Reduce the load on air conditioning units by shutting off air conditioning when and where it is not needed.
  • Check water supply system for leaks and turn off any unnecessary flows.
  • Repair dripping faucets, showers and continuously running or leaking toilets.
  • Install flow reducers and faucet aerators in all plumbing fixtures whenever possible.
    Reduce the water used in toilet flushing by either adjusting the vacuum flush mechanism or installing toilet tank displacement devices (dams, bottles, or bags).
  • As appliances or fixtures wear out, replace them with water-saving models.
  • Shut off water supply to equipment rooms not in use.
  • Minimize the water used in cooling equipment, such as air compressors, in accordance with the manufacturer recommendations.
  • Keep hot water pipes insulated.
  • Avoid excessive boiler and air conditioner blow down. Monitor total dissolved solids levels and blow down only when needed.
  • Switch from wet or steam carpet cleaning methods to dry powder methods.
    Instruct clean-up crew to use less water for mopping.
  • Change window cleaning schedule from periodic to an on-call/as required basis.

Kitchen Area

  • Turn off the continuous flow used to clean the drain trays of the coffee/milk/soda beverage island; clean the trays only as needed.
  • Turn dishwasher off when not in use. Wash full loads only.
  • Replace spray heads in dishwasher to reduce water flow. Use water from steam tables to wash down cooking area.
  • Do not use running water to melt ice or frozen foods.
  • Use water-conserving ice makers.
  • Recycle water where feasible, consistent with state and county requirements. Recycle rinse water from the dishwasher or recirculate it to the garbage disposal.
  • Rinse utensils and dishes in ponded water.
  • Wash vegetables in ponded water; do not let water run in preparation sink.


  • Do not use running water to melt ice in the sink strainers.

Exterior Areas

  • Water landscapes only when needed; two-to-three times a week is usually sufficient.
  • Stop hosing down sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots.
  • Wash autos, buses, and trucks less often.
  • Avoid plant fertilizing and pruning that would stimulate excessive growth.
  • Remove weeds and unhealthy plants so remaining plants can benefit from the water saved.
  • In many cases, older, established plants require only infrequent irrigation. Look for indications of water need, such as wilting, change of color, or dry soils.
  • Install soil moisture overrides or timers on sprinkler systems. Time watering, when possible, to occur in the early morning or evening when evaporation is lowest.
  • Irrigation equipment should apply water uniformly.
  • Investigate the advantages of installing drip irrigation systems.
  • Mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and discourage weeds.
  • Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage the movement of water to the root zone.
  • Avoid runoff and make sure sprinklers cover just the lawn or garden, not sidewalks, driveways, or gutters.
  • Do not water on windy days.

For More Information
For more information, contact the Water Supply Program at 410-537-3702 or water.supply@maryland.gov

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