The persistent drought, which has been afflicting California since 2012, has continued to grasp the state harder in its clutches. As no real relief looks to come to the Golden State anytime soon, government officials as of April 2015, have pushed for mandatory water restrictions for the first time in California’s history. The plan is designed to reduce statewide water-usage by 25 percent, which may seem like a daunting or even unrealistic task, but with a few changes it can be achieved by anyone willing to participate.
Whether you’re in California or anywhere in the world, water conservation is always a good idea. Here are some tips on how you can cut your water use in and outdoors.
It’s always hard to make personal sacrifices, but with the drought looming through its fourth consecutive year, it is finally time to look into making some lifestyle changes. Conserving water indoors can be extremely easy and will not only save water, but also save you money.
Don’t let water run
- Most faucets release 1-to-2 gallons of water per minute. Don’t let that precious resource go to waste!
- When brushing those pearly whites, only turn the water on to wet your brush or rinse your teeth.
- Guys, when shaving your face, don’t leave the water running while lathering up and only turn on the faucet to rinse the blade between strokes.
- If you must let the water run, collect it in a bowl or bucket and find a way to reuse it for something else!
Manage your time when taking showers
- Showerheads on average release water at a rate ranging from 2 to 4 gallons per minute!
- Try to cut your time in the shower in half using a portable timer (5-7 minutes max!)
- Only run full loads when doing laundry or using a dishwasher. Each laundry load can use anywhere from 20-to-40 gallons of water, so run loads sparingly.
- Select the lighter dishwashing cycle, such as “Quick Clean,” for less-soiled dish loads.
Don’t unnecessarily flush away much-needed water
- Each toilet flush uses on average 3 gallons of water! It may sound yucky, but there’s truth to the saying “if it`s yellow let it mellow.” Try flushing every other time you use the toilet.
- Check for leaks! Leaking facets and toilets can waste up to 200 gallons every day If the drought isn`t enough reason for you to stop the leak, think about the money you`ll save!
- Speaking of money, if you can, think about upgrading indoor appliances to a greener equivalent. Water-efficient appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and toilets can save anywhere from 3-to-19 gallons of water per use. There are also water-efficient low-flow shower heads and faucets available that can save you another 3 gallons of water a day.
- In California, outdoor watering makes up approximately 50-70 percent of a household’s water use. This amount can be greatly reduced with just a little bit of elbow grease.
- Adjust sprinklers to water plants, not driveways! Up to 15 gallons of water is typically wasted on pavement.
- Install a “smart” irrigation control system / drip-irrigation system. These can save up to 15 gallons of water per use and will help make sure the water you are using will not be wasted.
- Use mulch on the soil surface. This helps reduce evaporation and keeps the soil cool under the blazing sun.
- Water plants early in the morning. Watering plants in the morning will reduce the amount that gets evaporated by the sun, allowing plants to take in the moisture you’re giving them.
- Install rain barrels at the bottom of your gutters. This very easy and effective solution uses any water-tight container to catch and store whatever rain you do receive. For every inch of rain on a 500 square feet of roof, you can collect about 300 gallons of water!
- Consider modifying your home’s landscape. Think about planting drought-tolerate plants that do not require much water to thrive. Another alternative is to consider hardscape options that would require you to use less water outdoors. Options can range from patios to decorative walkways.
Whether the drought is affecting you or not, water is a valuable natural commodity and should not be taken for granted — no matter where you live. Think outside the box and be willing to treat water as a valuable resource.
We wish to thank WeatherBug Meteorologist Timothy Barnes for this story!