5 Easy Ways to Use Less Water

california-drought-mapIt’s official, Californians!  We are in a severe water shortage.  While we can all start praying to the Rain Gods and making rain makers with our kids, it’s also the time to start reducing our water use.

This drought may cost more than that anyways.  Not only will your home water bill increase, the increase water prices will no doubt increase our food prices for fruits and veggies too.  Before we all are forced to completely kill our lawns, here’s 5 super easy ways that you can start using less water today.

1. Stop Pre-rinsing Dishes

If you have a newer dishwasher, you don’t need to pre-rinse dishes.  If you have an older dishwasher (like us), pre-rinsing doesn’t require you to keep the faucet running.  You can fill up a large salad bowl with less than a gallon of water and rinse your dishes in there.The average faucet uses 2 gallons of water per minute.  So a even a 5 minute prewash is using 10 gallons of water.

2.Turn Off the Water When Brushing Teeth

Or even washing your hands.  Something so small as turning off the water when you are in the middle of brushing your teeth, washing your face, or lathering hands can save hundreds of gallons of water a year. And while you’re at it…

3. Turn Off the Water While You Shampoo

Turning off the water when you shampoo or soap up also saves water.  The average shower uses about 7 gallons of water per minute.  If you take 2 minutes to shampoo and soap up, that’s 14 gallons of water saved every shower.  With a family of four, that saving almost 400 gallons of water a week!

4. Water Your Lawn Less

Even with this gorgeous weather, you don’t need to water your lawn every day.  Reset your timer to water only twice a week.  If you already watering twice a week, try once a week. Don’t know how long to water? Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. 3/4 to 1 inch of water is all you need!

5. Add Mulch to Your Landscaping

A layer of mulch in your garden not only helps keep the weeds at bay, it also helps the soil retain the moisture. You can even leave the lawn clippings on your lawn.  It can act as a natural fertilizer, cools the ground, and helps keep in the moisture.

And here’s one last bonus tip, if you have the stomach for it: Stop flushing your toilet at home.  Remember the saying from the 80s drought… “If its yellow then it’s mellow.  If it’s brown, flush it down.”  Or if you in a house, like me, full of boys who haven’t mastered the art of flushing, it’s just a regular old day.

Image source: California Drought Monitor Map. Source: The U.S. Drought Monitor, The National Drought Mitigation Center.

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