The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program encourages consumers to celebrate the seventh annual Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22, 2015, by finding and fixing water leaks in their homes. Annually, the average American family could be wasting more than 10,000 gallons of water — enough for 270 loads of laundry — due to easy-to-fix leaks. Since 2006, WaterSense helped consumers save a cumulative 757 billion gallons of water and over $14.2 billion in water and energy bills. Every year, more than one trillion gallons of water go down the drain because of household leaks. Leaks may increase a water bill by as much as 10 percent.

Here’s how to reduce water waste:

Check: Look at your water meter, usually located outside your house, before and after a two-hour period of no water use. If the number changed, there is likely a leak, which could be as simple to fix as replacing a worn rubber flapper in the toilet tank.

Twist: Fix dripping pipes, fixtures or hoses by using a wrench to twist and tighten the connections. If needed, pipe tape can help seal shower fixtures or hose connections. Check washers and valves for persistent drips and repair or replace, if necessary. Remind everyone to turn faucets and showers off tightly.

Replace: For old or inefficient fixtures not easily repaired, look for WaterSense labeled models to replace them. WaterSense products are available in a variety of styles and price points at home improvement stores. These money-saving products are high performing and independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water. Look for the WaterSense label on product packaging or the website of your favorite plumbing brand. Many WaterSense partners also offer rebates for WaterSense labeled products.

WaterSense, an EPA partnership program, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes and services. The program helps consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance.

“Fixing household leaks is not only an important way to conserve water, but it is a simple way that American families can reduce energy use and lower utility bills,” said Ken Kopocis, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To help consumers find and fix leaks, EPA WaterSense partners are sponsoring running races, workshops, contests and other educational events across the country:

• The city of Goodyear, Arizona, is teaming up with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians to offer complimentary spring training baseball tickets to local residents whose 2015 winter water bills show a reduction from 2014.
• Citrus County (Florida) Utilities is helping customers “Schedule a Specialist” to check their water meters and irrigation systems for leaks. The utility is also offering a $150rebate for WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers.
• The city of Fort Worth, Texas, is partnering with the Fort Worth Runners Club to host a 5-kilometer race for Fix a Leak Week and the City of Plano, Texas, is hosting a fun run and a social media challenge to reward those who implement water-saving strategies learned at the event.
• The Regional Water Authority of Sacramento, California is teaming up with the Sacramento Bee newspaper to host the 2015 Water Spots Video Contest. The contest encourages middle and high school students to submit a public service announcement on the 2015 water efficiency theme: BEAT THE LEAK: Find and fix leaks fast.
• The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer is partnering with several local water authorities holding workshops and hands on displays throughout the state. All events will have leak detection and fixing tips and information along with other water conservation and efficiency information.