Easy Ways to Conserve Water in Statewide California Drought

Californians are being asked to conserve more water than ever before

In the wake of Wednesday's mandatory water restrictions announced by California Gov. Jerry Brown, it may be a good time to consider some of the advice from water conservation experts in the region.

The City of San Diego wants residents to wash only full loads of clothes and full loads of dishes and adjust 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.

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 include 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.

Several federal and state agencies offer these water-saving 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.
  • Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing them off.
  • Take a short shower instead of a tub bath.
  • Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Raise your lawn mower cutting height - longer grass blades help shade each other, reduce evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.  
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