If everyone in the United States used just one less gallon of water per shower every day, we could save some 85 billion gallons of water per year. That’s according to the City of San Diego’s water conservation tips for children.
Taking shorter showers and watering lawns less were two of the suggestions made by Gov. Jerry Brown Friday as he declared a drought emergency in the state.
He encouraged people to voluntarily conserve water but said his administration is considering a mandatory conservation order.
"I think the drought emphasizes that we do live in an era of limits, that nature has its boundaries," the governor said.
San Diegans are no stranger to calls for water conservation. Just four years ago, then-mayor Jerry Sanders forced residents to cut down water use.
So in the wake of Friday's announcement, it may be a good time to consider some of the advice from water conservation experts in the region.
When taking a bath, start filling the tub with the drain already plugged instead of waiting first for the water to get warm, suggests Aquafornia, the Water Education Foundation of California.
Other ideas involve turning off the water while brushing your teeth or while washing dishes. And while you’re at the kitchen sink, the foundation suggests using the least amount of dish soap possible to avoid a lot of water needed to rinse.
Outside the house, use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. Don’t water your lawn on windy or cool/overcast days.
The City of San Diego wants residents to wash only full loads of clothes and full loads of dishes and ddjust lawn sprinklers so they’re not watering the sidewalk or street.
San Diego County has its suggestions for water conservation including implementing a rain barrel system to capture what little rain we receive to help water plants and gardens.
Here are some other tips:
• Check all faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks.
• Never use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket – throw it away, don’t flush it.
• Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator.
• Rinse dishes and vegetables in a full sink or pan of water instead of running water.
• Install water saving showerheads and ultra-low-flush toilets.
• Water your lawn or garden early in the morning or late in evening.
• Equip all hoses with shut-off nozzles.
• Use drip irrigation systems.
• Plant drought-tolerant or low water-use plants and grasses.
• Place mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and discourage weeds.
• Set your mower blades one notch higher, since longer grass means less evaporation.
• Use a pool cover to cut down on water evaporation.
• Use a bucket instead of a hose to wash your car.