Conserving Water

Take Action

We all have a role to play in helping to protect water quantity and quality across the United States. You can do your part in parks by conserving water during your visit, especially in water scarce parks. You can also conserve water at home by making small changes to your every-day routine. Learn more about how to conserve water below.

Child fills up water bottle
Water bottle fill up stations at Grand Canyon National Park provide visitors with fresh spring water.

NPS Photo

At a Park

Preserve Quantity

  1. Turn off the tap, when brushing teeth, in between water bottle fill ups, and washing dishes.

  2. Take shorter showers! Or when not rinsing, turn off the water. By not letting water run continuously, you will help to reduce the amount of water you use.

  3. When doing dishes in your cabin or campsite, use a separate rinse tub beside your wash sink/tub. Then reuse the rinse water (from the tub) as the soapy wash water for your next round of dishwashing.

Preserve Quality

  1. Properly dispose of waste.

    • Trash goes in the trashcan. By keeping your trash out of water ways, you are helping to keep rivers, lakes, and oceans in National Parks clean. If you're in a place without a trashcan nearby, make sure to pack out anything you packed in.

    • Pick up pet waste near water sources. Feces contain unhealthy bacteria. Picking up pet waste will help to remove potential pathogens from potential drinking water sources.

    • Your poop matters too! In the great outdoors, a bathroom isn't always nearby. Make sure you know how to properly go "number two" when you're exploring away from toilets.

  2. Wear mineral sunscreen. Some sunscreens can alter the quality of water and can have a negative effect on living things, especially in coral reef communities. By switching to a mineral based sunscreen, you are helping to reduce the chemicals that can harm ocean life! Find out how to choose a reef-friendly (and ecosystem-friendly) sunscreen.

Learn & Explore

When you visit parks with water resources, learn about the ways water affects these ecosystems and explore the myriad of ways to enjoy water in your national parks.

  • Ask how more or less water could change these ecosystems.
  • Learn about the types of species that depend on the water at these parks.
  • Explore and appreciate how water shapes our national parks. Swim, boat, float, and fish in park waters to appreciate how vital water is to us all.

At Home

Just as nature knows no boundaries, watersheds often extend beyond park boundaries. Water flows in, out, and around our national parks. The actions you take at home can affect your entire watershed, including the parks within it. Every living thing on this planet needs water to survive. Find out how you can help conserve water at home.

Last updated: October 5, 2022