You may have heard, California is in a pretty severe drought situation, which has led to some pretty severe water use restrictions.
As a California Native, I honestly don’t remember a time when we haven’t been actively conserving water. However, now it’s more important than ever.
How can you and your family help out? Like most things, small tweaks can lead to big changes, especially if many people pitch in. Here are a few examples of ways YOU and YOUR FAMILY can help out:
Fix any leaky faucets. It may be as simple as replacing a worn out gasket in the faucet. Depending on how many drips you count per minute and how many faucets you have that are drip drip dripping, you could be wasting up to 5 gallons of water A DAY!!!
Limit showers to 5 minutes or less. I know take a long, hot shower is nice, but realistically, most ladies don’t need to wash their hair every day, and all that water is just going down the drain. If you need to relax, take a bath. Once you are done… try the next tip.
Got kids who still take a bath? Once they (or you!) are done, scoop the some of the water out of the tub in a bucket (I like the 5 gallon Homer Buckets from Home Depot) and use it to water your lawn, houseplants, or even your garden. For more tips and info on how and when it’s ok to use gray water in your garden, check out this segment from KPBS Midday Edition.
Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. That seems like a no-brainer, but it really does save water!
Use the correct setting on your washing machine! If you don’t have a large load, remember to change the load size on your washing machine. Using Energy Star rated appliances will not only help you save electricity, but it will also help you save water! Read the washing machine manual to learn about which water settings should be used.
Turn off the sink while you are brushing your teeth or shaving. You could save up to 8 gallons a day per person who brushes their teeth.
Consider removing your lawn. I know having a lush, green lawn is a source of pride for some homeowners, but now is not the time! You can Xeriscape, which is where you pull out the lawn and replace it with decorative rocks or mulch and native, drought tolerant plants. It’s really pretty. And you’ll be saving tons of water!
Pick up some rain barrels. I know, I know, we’re in a drought! But it still does rain here from time to time. The City of San Diego has a rebate program for those who purchase and install rain collection barrels. For those of us who can’t install barrels, you can always set out buckets to collect water and store it appropriately. We always set out a few buckets to collect water for our patio garden.
Take your car to the carwash! Most commercial carwashes use recycled water, so taking your car to the carwash is a great way to conserve water. It’s a lot more water efficient- the average commercial carwash uses 30-50 gallons of water per carwash (and most of it is or can be recycled), whereas a DIY at home car washing can use upwards of 100 gallons of water!
Compost your kitchen scraps! Instead of running your garbage disposal (which requires water!) to dispose of organic waste (that includes food waste), start a compost pile/bin. You can find small compost bins (including table top versions!) at Home Depot for those who don’t’ have a large yard (like us). In addition to most food waste, yard waste, newspaper, and cardboard can be added to compost piles/bins. You can learn more about composting here.
So, there are just a few ways you can be water wise. How do you like to conserve water?