California’s drought: Tips on water conservation
March 18, 2015
Relocating to California? Then these tips on water conservation will be helpful in your new location.
In the third year of California’s record-setting drought, it’s common to see highway signs advising that the state is in a serious drought. The deepening red California map on the U.S. Drought Monitor further emphasizes the severity of the situation.
The drought affects more than 37.2 million people. How much water are we using? The average American consumes 80-100 gallons of water each day. The largest use of household water is for older flush toilets, followed by baths and showers.
Some areas have mandated water-use restrictions to curb these trends. In 2014, for example, the Alameda County Water District’s Board of Directors declared a water shortage emergency. Violations of the restrictions are misdemeanors, which can lead to heavy fines and water services termination for persistent violators in the cities of Fremont, Newark and Union City.
A quick search online will yield many water conservation tips, from turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or soaping your hands to more elaborate tips such as building greywater recycling systems. (Greywater: wastewater from household baths and washing machines that is recycled especially for use in gardening or for flushing toilets).
The Save Our Water Program was initiated when Governor Brown declared a drought state of emergency on January 17, 2014 and issued a proclamation for a 20% reduction in our water use.
Ways to Save
While the effects of the drought are different throughout the state, all Californians can help to reduce water use. Save Our Water offers the following home tips:
- Only wash full loads of laundry and dishes
- Keep showers to five minutes or less
- Install low-flow shower heads and faucets
- Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth
- Don’t use the toilet as a waste can
- Replace older, water-guzzling toilets with low-flow models
- Water in the early morning hours
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean outdoor spaces
- Put a bucket in your shower to catch excess water (or when waiting for the water to get warm); use that water on container plants
We can all do our part to make water conservation habits a way of life. Even when our reservoirs and aqueducts are eventually replenished, water conservation efforts should continue.