What Can I Do To Lower My Water Usage? – Homeowner edition

current_ca_trdLast night, on the news, nearly every news station had a story on the drought and how you must reduce. But how many of them provided good, quality tips on ways that really work?

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! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • 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


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%.


38 Gallons/day is based upon the water usage of the entire house, not on a per person per day basis.

Excessive, but proof it can be done.

1 Comment

  1. Beth Massi

    Don’t forget this simple toilet tip that you explained in this post http://www.recycledh2o.net/2015/04/13/what-can-i-do-i-live-in-a-condo/

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