As the drought gets worse in California, we must all do our part to make a difference and cut our water usage. At our office, we have low flow appliances and have stopped washing vans before all trips (sorry, if they don’t look shiny and new for each trip). Our island guides have stopped showering altogether – but that is what the ocean is for, right? If you are looking for easy ways to cut your water usage, here are a few suggestions:
1) After meals, don’t pour extra water or ice cubes down the drain. Use the water for house plants.
2) Shorten your showers and avoid baths. A quick shower can use 10 gallons or less of water, while baths can use up to 70 gallons. If you have young children that are old enough to shower, encourage them to transition out of the bath. This will save your family money in the long run and is much better for the Earth.
3) Wash animals outside on the grass. The water will serve two purposes; it will clean your pet and water your yard!
4) Go to car washes that recycle water. If you do wash your car at home, do it less frequently and use a bucket while cleaning the car to avoid wasting water.
5) Scrape food into a compost bin instead of rinsing or using the garbage disposal. This will stop on average of 20 gallons of water from running down the drain while you run the disposal. Plus the compost is great for your garden.
6) “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” Avoid flushing the toilet every time you go to the bathroom. 45% of water use in the average American home occurs in the bathroom, with nearly 27% being used by your toilet. Eliminating just1 flush a day will make a large impact over the months and years.
7) Wash only full loads. When it comes to the dishwasher and clothes washer, wait until you have a full load before running the appliance. A dishwasher will use the same amount of water if you wash 1 dish or 20, so wait until the appliance is full and then put it to work. For dishes that have been lightly used, consider rinsing them by hand.
8) Let your lawn grow tall. Many people are letting their lawns die during this drought, but it you have not taken this step then consider letting your lawn grow taller. You can adjust the setting on your lawn mower and mower less frequently. A taller lawn will require less water.
9) Water outdoors in the evening and night so that water is absorbed by your plants and does not evaporate in the heat of day.
10) Teach other adults and children about water conservation. We all need to understand the importance of keeping this valuable resource available, so share your knowledge.
If you want to take the extra step, consider putting your grey water to use and installing a “laundry to landscape” system. Here are several great resources for installing these systems and you can do it yourself as a weekend project. The average washer uses about 40 to 50 gallons of water per load, so the savings will add up fast.
If you have another tip, please add it to the list below. We would love to hear about more ways to save water.