June 1st, 2015 marked the date where water reduction mandates would take effect. Homeowners MUST reduce their usage by up to 38% depending on where they live. The complete list is available here for “conservation standard” for your water company – information that is available at the State Water Resource Control Board website.
East Bay Municipal Utilities District – 16% reduction
Contra Costa Water District – 28% reduction
As a homeowner – what steps can you take to lower your usage – starting today to going extreme?
Low Hanging Fruit
- “When Its Yellow, Let It Mellow. When its Brown, Flush It Down!” – this old adage will help reduce each flush by 1.6-2.5 gallons per use. Basically – Pee can stay, poo must go! 🙂
- Take shorter showers or military showers – turn the water on to get wet, then turn it off. Lather up and then turn the water on to wash all the soap off. Done!
- Turn off the water when shaving or brushing your teeth
- Only run the dishwasher when full
- Only run the laundry when clothes washer is full
- Stop using the ‘in-sinkerator’ and put whatever would have gone down the drain into the trash. Such as coffee grounds, egg shells, and food waste
- Married or dating? Have some fun and shower together. Be mindful of how long the water is on for. 😉
- Wash your car at a car wash that recycles the water instead of in your driveway
- Put shutoff nozzles on your hoses and use them
- Use a broom or a blower to clear dirt/leaves from hard surfaces instead of water from the hose
- Stick your finger in the ground around the plants you want to water, if the soil is moist – don’t water it
- Educate your children on what it means to be in a drought and encourage them to use less water
- Keep splashing of water outside your pool to a minimum – educate your kids to help them understand
A little effort involved
- Install low flow shower heads, your local water company could help pay for it
- Install low flow toilets or dual flush toilets
- Install faucet aerators or upgrade to faucets with aerators – faucets older than 1994 should be replaced as they typically have higher flow rates
- Fix a leaky toilet – how to guides are all over the ‘net
- Upgrade appliances in your house to water efficient ones – fridge, clothes washer, dishwasher, water heater. Look for the “WaterSense” label on equipment
- Bring a bucket into the shower and fill the bucket with water while waiting for hot water to come out of shower head (use that water to flush your toilet instead of from the tank)
- Place a bowl in the kitchen or bathroom sink and capture hand washing water and use it in the garden
- Reduce frequency or run times on irrigation controller to 2x a week
- Test run irrigation system to ensure no water is spraying on cement or running down street
- Ensure your sprinklers run at Dawn or Dusk and not the middle of the day
- Reduce usage of hand water via hose – 20 minutes a hose watering uses more water because you don’t think about how much water is actually being used
- Minimize fertilizer use – fertilizer needs to watered in to prevent burning plant leaves – use Recycled Water instead as fertilizer is already water soluble
- Check for water leaks on irrigation system – small leaks going unnoticed can have a huge impact on your water bill
Handyman or Weekend Warrior
- Put mulch over bare spots or around plants in your yard. Mulch can reduce water usage by up to 80%. I know – I did an experiment a few months ago
- Insulate the hot water pipes in your home – keeping hot water hot will reduce time needed for hot water to show up at the tap
- Invest in a mulching lawn mower – mulching the grass clippings will return nutrients to soil and provide a layer of “mulch” for your grass to reduce water usage through evaporation
- Put a cover on your pool – an uncovered pool can evaporate up to 1/4″ a day – you won’t even think about it when you fill it back up
- Remove your lawn and put in drought tolerant planting. Every 1,000 sq ft of grass uses 623 gallons/week
- Reduce the water pressure in your home by installing a Pressure Regulator Valve – it’ll help reduce wear on pipes/valves and provide lower flow which reduces water use
- Install drip irrigation
- Upgrade irrigation controller to an internet smart controller
- Get RecycledH2O at one of the Recycled Water Fill Stations in the area and water your lawn with Recycled Water.
Do these tips really work? Yes!
How do I know? We utilize some of them in our household and our water usage last summer averaged 400 gallons/day. This past billing cycle we were at 38 gallons/day – a cutback of 90%.
Excessive, but proof it can be done.