For those of you who reside in California, it’s no secret that even as we approach summer, we are all wishing for a spot of rain. After multiple years of a record-breaking drought, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought-related State of Emergency for California in January 2015.
As California residents, the visibility and effect of the drought has thus far been minimal. We are starting to see neighbors let their lawns go brown as they reduce their landscape watering, water levels at local recreational lakes are severely reduced, and it seems like it’s been ages since we have had a consistent ski season in Lake Tahoe. Fairly soon, we’ll likely be feeling the strain of the drought in our bank accounts, as water costs increase both at our personal homes and in grocery store.
The bottom line? Now’s a good time to think about how we can change our weekly routines to reduce the amount of water we’re conserving. The great thing is, there are plenty of simple adjustments that do not require major (and expensive) home renovations.
- Dishwasher Beats Hand-Washing – Consider using a dishwasher (if you have one). The amount of water used when running a full dishwasher is much less than a constant stream of water used to wash lots of dishes by hand. Have sticky food left on your plate or flatware? Load them in the sink and let them soak in water used to wash hands or produce, prior to adding them to your dishwasher.
- Multipurpose Shower Water – Can’t bear to get into the shower when the water is still chilly? Consider putting a bucket down to capture the water (while it’s heating up) and use to water household plants or garden landscape. While it takes a bit more effort to bucket the water and lug it outside, your plants (and water bill) will thank you!
- Embrace the Dusty Car – Let your car go a few extra days (or weeks!) without a bath. Just make sure to clean your windows so that visibility isn’t hindered. When you do need to wash your car, consider taking it to a machine car wash as they use fewer gallons of water than most home DIYers, and they have processes in place for recycling and/or treating the soapy water.
- Garden Makeover – Swap your perennials for drought-tolerant plans, such as succulents. Succulents are able to survive dry conditions while adding unique color and texture to your garden. And many succulents produce blossoming flowers throughout the year!
- Laundry Lessons – Laundry is just one of those tedious tasks where you sometimes go on “auto-pilot” when you’re getting it done. Consider the frequency of your loads. Do you have a full load? Can you use a lower water level for those that are not quite as bulky?
While the tips listed above are just a few simple things that we have incorporated into our lives, there is so much more you can do. Save Our Water is a California-funded program that focuses on helping residents reduce their water. You can check out more information about the program, including water-saving tips at their organization website.
That being said, we’d love to hear about what you do in your home to keep your water usage low. If you have a tip you’d like to share, please include it in our comments section.