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By Rachael Mattice

Although emergency water usage regulations issued by Gov. Jerry Brown in recent years have been lifted, the California State Water Resources Control Board is still seeking to enact modified regulations to prohibit certain wasteful water use practices across the state. The drought scare is still prominent in many Californians’ minds and coming up with more long-term solutions has become a priority to make water conservation a regular habit and way of life.

According to Save Our Water, a statewide conservation program, the average Californian uses 196 gallons of water each day. Get in the conservation state of mind with these at-home water saving ideas.

In the Kitchen

  • Drinking Water: Keep a container with drinking water in the refrigerator so the faucet doesn’t have to be left on until the water is cold enough to drink.
  • Dishwashers: Invest in energy efficient dishwashers. According to Home Water Works, dishwashers such as EnergySTAR use less than 5.5 gallons of water per load and are more economical than washing dishes by hand.
  • Faucet Aerators: Installing a new aerator that reduces the water flow rate in the kitchen below 2.2 gallons per minute is a lot easier than you would imagine. This is especially helpful for those who don’t have a dishwasher.
    • General Faucet Usage: Whether it’s brushing your teeth, washing your face, dishes or clothing, turn the faucet off and run the water only when it’s necessary.

In the Bathroom

  • Showers: Californians are fortunate that they won’t have to freeze too long while waiting for the water to heat up, but regardless of the length of time it takes, collecting the cold water in a bucket and repurposing it for plants or garden usage is an easy fix. In addition, reducing shower time overall to five minutes saves at least 12.5 gallons of water, according to Save Our Water.
    • Showerheads: Taking it a step further, look into replacing your showerhead with a WaterSense-labeled product, which reduces the amount of gallons of water used per minute to two.
  • Bathtubs: If you work a labor-heavy job where taking warm baths is a God-send to your weekly health routine, eliminating baths may not be a realistic option. Try filling the bathtub halfway or less to save 12 gallons per bath.
  • Toilets: Repairing old, leaking or running toilets in average single-family homes is a must. Newer WaterSense-labeled toilets uses 1.3 gallons or less per flush and are designed to remove waste more efficiently. Consider an upgrade if your toilet was manufactured before 1995.

In the Laundry Room

  • Laundry: Much like other appliances in the household, newer economical versions of washers and dryers are available to maximize energy efficiency. If purchasing new models isn’t in your budget anytime soon, running full loads of laundry and using the recommended amount of detergent to not over-suds your clothes are simple best practices that will save on water.

In the Yard

  • Plants: Replace your yard with drought-resistant plants and trees such as succulents. This step will save between 30-60 gallons of water per 1,000-square feet, according to Save Our Water.
  • Drip Irrigation: Although installation costs may seem pricy upfront, this solution will yield long-term savings. Adding a smart controller to the drip irrigation system will save some 24 gallons of water per day.
  • Lawn Mower: Setting the mower blades to 3 inches encourages deeper roots and saves between 16-50 gallons of water per day.
  • Mulch: Use it frequently. Mulch preserves between 20-30 gallons per 1,000-square feet each time you water.
  • No-Mow Grass: No-mow grasses like Korean velvet grass, dwarf mondo grass, sedge and clover can be expensive, but the substantial reduction in watering needed is next to none.
  • Other Outdoor Tips: Check your sprinkler heads for misalignments, check for broken pipes or leaks and other irrigation system issues monthly. Resetting timers four times per year for seasonal changes, as well as turning off systems during heavy rains, is also recommended.

Not sure where your home lies in energy efficiency? See how yours compares and look into other water preservation tips for your home at

 Read more of the 2018 Green Issue HERE:

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About The Author Capo Dispatch

comments (1)

  • I began early on. When I began I was living alone, with a monthly water bill averaging $35.00 a month. To reduce water loss through running faucets, I installed automatic faucets in the bathrooms and kitchen. I then installed recycle pumps in the hot water lines, sending the cooled water from setting in the pipes back into the cold water lines. When hot water reaches the pump, it is redirected to the hot water faucet. Next came dual flush toilets and replacement of lawn with drought-tolerant plants and rock gardens.

    Today there are two of us living here, yet our water bill averages about $15 a month. High of $18, low of $13.

    We live in a manufactured (mobile) home, so my next project is a bit complicated. Greyter manufactures systems for residential and commercial use that collect sink and bath water, filters it for particulates, and stores it for toilet flushing. Greyter states that a family of four can save up to 35-percent annually on their water bill.

    Granted, all this is a bit pricey, but far less expensive over the long term than a monthly water bill in the hundreds, which it could very well come to as our water becomes more scares.

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