With drought conditions continuing to persist, and water costs rising throughout much of Texas, consumers are looking for ways to save both water and money. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is offering several tips to help Texans conserve water and lower costly water bills.

Taking advantage of a few simple tips can help you save thousands of gallons of water and hundreds of dollars each year.

Use Less Water - Turning off the water faucet while you brush your teeth can save up to four gallons of water a minute. Try a shorter shower and save up to four gallons for every minute you cut back.

Check Faucets and Toilets for Leaks - A faucet leaking at a rate of one drop per second can waste up to 1,660 gallons of water per year, and a leaky toilet can waste about 73,000 gallons per year. Fixing hot-water leaks can save up to $35 per year in utility bills.

Wash Full Loads of Laundry - Washing full loads as opposed to partial loads of laundry can save an average household more than 3,400 gallons of water each year. Need a new clothes washer? Look for an ENERGY STAR qualified model, which typically uses 35 to 50 percent less water and 50 percent less energy per load.

Install New Toilets, Showerheads, Faucets and Faucet Aerators - Installing water efficient plumbing fixtures can reduce water consumption by 25 to 60 percent and save energy, too. Installing aerators will cut in half the amount of water used by each faucet. Look for the WaterSense label to help you find high-performing, water efficient products.

Use Native Plants - Plants that are native to Texas aren’t only beautiful; they typically require less water, pesticides, fertilizers, and maintenance—saving you time and money.

Water Wisely - Water your yard thoroughly, but only as needed—usually no more than one inch, once a week. Use drip irrigation where possible and water early in the morning to minimize evaporation. Make certain to always comply with your water system’s water-use restrictions.

To conserve more water outdoors, try collecting rainwater. Using collected rainwater — instead of tap water — for outdoor watering during peak summer months can save the typical household up to 1,300 gallons of water. Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40 percent of total household water use during these hot months.

For more tips to save money and the environment, visit www.takecareoftexas.org.

For information on how the TCEQ is responding to the drought, see this special drought Web page http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/agency/drought.html.