California is in the midst of a serious drought, one that has seen our reservoirs, aqueducts, and natural bodies of water evaporate to seriously low levels. With many local water authorities issuing mandatory water restrictions (click here for Coachella Valley restrictions, click here for San Diego, and click here for Orange County), some requiring a reduction in water usage by as much as 38%, we wanted to pass along some water saving tips to help you get started on conserving water and avoiding any fines or public shaming by your neighbors.
With the drought a hot topic in the region, there are plenty of articles out there about how to reduce water usage. Below are our favorite conservation tips for each location within your home or property where you use water, along with a link to the full article for each.
- Check For Leaks – Make sure your plumbing is free from leaks, especially from faucets, showerheads, and the toilet. A simple way to start is by reading your water meter before a period of non-use. Check the meter again after a couple of hours. If the reading is the same, there are no leaks.
- Install Water Saving Devices – Install aerators on all faucets, install new efficient toilets, and put in low-flow shower heads.
- Use Less Glassware – Put a pitcher filled with water in the fridge and use it for drinking water. Limit your household to using one drinking glass per person per day or re-use water bottles to conserve dishes.
- Avoid Running Taps – Use a small amount of water in the sink in lieu of a running tap when washing large quantities of fruit and vegetables.
- Use the Right Amount of Water When Cooking – Avoid using too much water when boiling, and make sure you are using the right sized piece of cookware. Remember, the larger the pot, the more water and energy needed to bring it to a boil.
- Recycle “Grey Water” – Collect waste water when heating up the tap, re-use boiled water, and collect dropped ice cubes to water indoor plants and garden plants.
- Do Full Dishwasher Loads – Only run the dishwasher when it is completely full to maximize water efficiency.
- Conserve While You Brush – Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, a savings of hundreds of gallons each month.
- Throw Garbage In Waste Can – Instead of using the toilet to dispose of tissues and q-tips, throw these items in the garbage can.
- Save While You Wash Hands and Hair – Turn off the tap while you lather you hands with soap or wash your hair.
- Reduce Shower Time – Reduce the length of your shower and stick to 5 minutes (if you can). This can save hundreds of gallons of water per month.
- Take Showers Instead of Baths – Baths can require up to 70 gallons of water! If you must take a bath, insert the drain plug before you fill with water and adjust the temperature accordingly as the tub fills.
- Recycle “Grey Water” In Tub – Rather than waste the water used while waiting to heat up your shower, recycle it in a tub for use on outside plants.
- Use Load Selector Effectively – Make sure to match the size of the load with the water level required. More than 10% of all water used in a home is from the washing machine – even a small adjustment in water levels can lead to a huge savings benefit.
- Only Wash Full Loads – When doing laundry, wait until you have full loads to run.
Landscaping and Gardening
- Go Xeriscape – Xeriscape landscaping uses minimal to no water. Plant drought resistant perennials and native flora surrounded by DG (decomposed granite), lava rock, or other no-water materials.
- Water At Designated Times – Most water authorities have started enforcing mandatory watering windows, most of which are early morning and late at night to avoid evaporation losses. Make sure you are following the approved watering timelines to avoid fines.
- Use A Compost System For Gardens – Start composting food waste and using it in the garden. This will recycle unused food, save on water usage in the garbage disposal, and help your garden grow while maintaining more moisture in the soil.
- Use A Pool Cover – Use a pool cover to help stave off evaporation of pool water.
- Use A Broom To Clean Outdoor Spaces – Instead of hosing off outdoor spaces such as patios, walkways, and driveways, use a push broom.
- Put A Spray Nozzle On Hose – Put a spray nozzle on hoses used to water outdoor plants and wash cars. When washing cars, make sure to use a bucket with soapy water and nozzled hose to reduce water usage by up to 75%.
Additionally, general tips can be found at this handy site, WaterUseItWisely.com. For more information on the water regulations in your community, please contact your local Windermere Real Estate Southern California real estate professional.
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