Although winter rains have relieved much of the state from severe dry conditions, Californians know that the next drought is just around the corner. Here are some easy tips on how you can be water-wise in the home or workplace.
Indoor Water Conservation Tips:
- Install a WaterSense labeled showerhead. Check the EPA's website for a list of certified products.
- Take shorter showers.
- Use a bucket to capture the initial cold water from your shower and reuse it for toilet flushing or watering plants.
- Install water-efficient aerators in your bathroom and kitchen faucets.
- Only run full loads of laundry and dishes.
- Turn off the tap when not in use. Don't let the water run while you're brushing your teeth, flossing, or shaving.
- Use dye tablets (or several drops of food coloring) to find toilet leaks. Leaks are usually caused by a worn out flapper valve (which costs about $5) and can easily be replaced.
- If your faucet is dripping or leaking, replace the worn out washer in the faucet.
- If you haven't replaced your toilet in over 20 years, you may qualify for a $100 rebate on a high-efficiency toilet that uses less than 1.1 gallons per flush.
- Install a high-efficiency clothes washer that is Energy Star certified.
Outdoor Water Conservation Tips:
- Adjust your watering schedule. Turn off irrigation in the winter or wet season (from October to April) and only water manually if absolutely necessary. During the growing season, irrigate early or late in the day (before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.).
- Watering your plants 2 times per week satisfies most gardens.
- Select drought-tolerant or low-water use plants better adapted to California's climate. Find inspiration here.
- Install a shut-off nozzle to your hose.
- Take your car to a commercial car wash facility that recycles their wash water. If you decide to wash your car at home, park your car over landscape or the driveway to avoid runoff from flowing into a storm drain and use a bucket and sponge instead of a hose.
- If you have a pool, make sure to cover it to reduce evaporation.
- Apply mulch to your plants. Three inches of mulch maintains soil moisture and reduces evaporation.
- Examine your sprinklers for leaks and adjust them so they water your plants, not the sidewalk.
- Check your outdoor garden hose for leaks. Make sure the hose spigot is closed all the way when not in use.
- Install a self-adjusting "smart" irrigation controller that automatically adjusts watering times and shuts down the system when it rains.
- Install a drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs, and flowers to get water to the plant's roots more efficiently.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.
- Water Conservation Checklist
- Water Conservation Top 10 Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Save Our Water - Conservation Lifestyle
- Water Use it Wisely - 100+ Ways to Conserve
- Hire a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper
- SF Public Utilities Commission - Water-Wise Gardening for San Francisco (pdf)
Report Water Waste and Help Conserve Water in Our Community: