Considerations for Home Water Conservation

Freshwater used at homes for activities like drinking, showering, flushing toilets, and laundry originates from the same sources we use for irrigating agriculture, whether it’s pumped from one of Louisiana’s eleven aquifers or any of our rivers, lakes, or bayous.

While water volumes attributed to public consumption are a drop in the bucket compared to volumes used by agriculture, utilizing good water conservation principles at home can resonate beyond the property line.

Enacting conservative behaviors in public settings such as work or school can influence others to be less wasteful as well. As communities begin to shift societal norms toward a more sustainable future, conservation achieved through efficient practices can make a difference!

What can I do?

Recommendations for home water conservation include:

  • Check for leaky toilets: Each can waste up to 200 gallons every day.
  • Take showers instead of baths: A bath can increase usage by 45-60 gallons each time you take one. Taking a 5 min shower or less is better for conserving water.
  • Turn off the tap: Running water while brushing your teeth can waste 4-8 gallons per day.
  • Irrigate at night: Applying water during the day is subject to immediate evaporation before reaching the root zone of the plants.
  • Curb the hose: Using a bucket instead of constantly running a hose while washing the car can save you about 6 gallons per minute.

Statistics used here and more information about these recommendations can be found at the EPA WaterSense website.

What does it mean?

Assuming there are 30 days in the month, one car is washed twice monthly with the hose running for 15 minutes, and no landscape irrigation system,

  • Experiencing all of these inefficiencies would create water waste totaling 7,500 – 8,200 gallons per month for one home
  • If 10% of Baton Rouge’s 2022 population curbs this rate of water waste, 338M – 369M gallons could be saved each month.
  • Waterbill savings equals $820 - $900 per month for one home or $277M – $302M using Baton Rouge Water Company’s 2023 third tier of their rate schedule.

We’re combating drought…keep the leaks out! Turn off the spout!

Are you interested in checking your toilets for leaks or trying to take a shorter shower (<5 min) to do your part? LSU AgCenter currently has blue dye tablets and shower timers available for free. You can request these products from your local extension agent for near-future delivery or pick up in-person at the following two locations:

  • LaHouse Research and Education Center
    Gourrier Drive
    Baton Rouge, LA 70803
  • Red River Research Station
    262 Research Station Drive
    Bossier City, LA 71112

Drought Irrigation Response Tool (DIRT)

Click here to access the Drought Irrigation Response Tool (DIRT)

Click here to access the DIRT manual.

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What is DIRT?

The Drought Irrigation Response Tool (DIRT) is an integrative platform that assists farmers in making irrigation scheduling decisions during the crop season. This tool is created to not only assist farmers with irrigation in drought years, but every year.

How does DIRT work?

Upon signing in, you will set up a field (or single irrigation set) using a map and some basic inputs such as crop type and planting date. This tool will pull daily weather data and calculate an ETO value for your field location. Using ETO and rainfall, the tool will estimate the soil moisture in the field and alert you when an irrigation event is needed. You will record an irrigation value when completing an irrigation set, which will also factor into the soil moisture estimate.

Who should use DIRT?

Louisiana farmers that apply irrigation by gravity systems (furrow irrigation) and grow corn, cotton, soybean, grain sorghum, or sugarcane can use this tool immediately.

Louisiana farmers who use other irrigation systems, such as center pivots, can use the tool but it has not been validated for accuracy using research data.

A custom feature for adjusting crop coefficients to irrigate any crop type will be added later.

Who Developed DIRT?

Principal Investigators

Support Team

  • April Divine, Extension Associate
  • Meggan Franks, Program Evaluator
  • Andrew Garcia, LSU AgCenter IT Lead
  • Adil Rahim, Graduate Student
  • Shifat Mithila, Ph.D.Post-doctoral Researcher
  • Siarah Hall, Undergraduate Worker
  • Jayden Morgan, Undergraduate Worker

How did DIRT come to exist?

This project, titled “Decision Support, Education, And Outreach for Managing Agricultural Drought,” was funded by USDA NIFA Rapid Response Program (Award# 2022-68016-38648).

Through this opportunity, we asked an advisory panel of producers, consultants, industry professionals, and agricultural stakeholders to review the concept and provide input.

In the Media:

Supporting Documentation:

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

We want to know what you think! Use this link to provide feedback.

Contact Us:

Are you experiencing issues or need assistance? We have someone on staff to assist you!

Please contact: Stacia L. Davis Conger
Work: (318) 408-0973

Funding Agency:

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
Competitive Grant No. 2022-68016-38648

In the News:

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