The current drought is not something to take lightly – California is facing the worst water crisis in modern history. With a mandatory average conservation rate of 25 percent enacted in June, it’s up to every individual to do their part to collectively make an impact.
Many Californians know that they need to save water, but aren’t always sure how to conserve and what will make a real difference. Don’t feel overwhelmed. The team at Renovation Realty has five tips to help homeowners tackle water waste and decrease overall usage at home:
1. Fix-up old faucets and leaks. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. Dripping faucets, toilet flappers and showerheads are easily fixable and a sure way to conserve water, especially given that close to half of the water used in a home is in the bathroom. Make sure your water supply is turned off before starting – Popular Mechanics outlines five easy steps to fix a leaky faucet here.
2. Be conservative with laundry. Don’t just throw in a few dish rags that need washing – wait until you have full loads of clothes and other items in the washer before starting the cycle. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California says that washing only full loads of laundry can save up to 50 gallons of water per week.
3. Replace your lawn with artificial turf and drought-tolerant landscaping. If having a green lawn is important to you, replace grass with artificial turf. Though installing artificial grass can have a large upfront cost, it will pay for itself over time since artificial lawns typically last between 10 and 20 years before any need for updating. The EPA affirms that of the estimated 29 billion gallons of water used daily by households in the United States, nearly 9 billion gallons, or 30 percent, is devoted to outdoor water use. Artificial turf is a big water saver – a typical pop up sprinkler watering grass can put out four gallons of water per minute!
Drought-tolerant landscaping is another effective way to conserve H2O. The San Diego County Water Authority has compiled a new “Nifty 50” list, including 50 plants that are attractive, readily available in retail nurseries, non-invasive and easy to maintain.
4. Bucket Up. Keep buckets in areas where water is easily wasted around the home. When you take a shower, use a bucket to catch any excess water from the showerhead. When cooking, place a bucket underneath a strainer after boiling pasta and potatoes and reserve that water for your plants once it cools. Small steps like this can lead to big savings – you will be surprised to see how full your bucket will get by utilizing it as a conservation device during activities in the home that require water.
5. Bring the family together. Conduct a household meeting and develop creative ways to get everyone involved in water conservation at home. Get your kids excited – you can even implement a game or contest for the weekly or monthly “winning water saver.” Who can keep their shower at less than five minutes the most times in one month? What’s the smallest number of laundry loads you can accomplish in a given month? Have prizes for the winners – perhaps a water-savvy succulent. You can even create a drought-tolerant garden with the prizes, containing representative plants for each member of the family and their conservation efforts throughout the year.
The magnitude of the drought and what steps to take individually to conserve water can feel overwhelming, but incorporating small savings tools into daily activities at home will lead to big savings and smarter habits. Together, we can tackle the drought and create a better future for our state if we each make a concerted effort to decrease water waste.