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We’re officially in a drought! 25 easy ways to conserve water

by Julie Bien

January 17, 2014 | 1:54 pm

This is not what California should look like in winter. (Photo credit: Hank Shiffman/Shutterstock.com)

Governor Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency in California. This should come as no surprise to anyone who lives here (hellloooooo 90 degree January days)!

In fact, we no longer have a "fire season." They've become a year-round affair due to low winter and spring precipitation (which, this year, is vying for the lowest amount on record since the 50s).

I was recently in coastal northern California, a place that exemplifies the word "verdant" most winters. Not so this year. It was as brown and crispy as it normally is in August.

While water conservation is something we should always be aiming for, it's now more important than ever to curb any excessive water use.

We celebrated T'Bshevat earlier in the week--the "new year" for trees. Let's do what we can to make sure we have enough water for trees in the future. For the time being, it's not looking so good for the trees, OR for ourselves. 


Kitchen:

1. Don't let the faucet run while doing the dishes

2. Soak dishes with caked-on food before trying to scrape them off

3. If you're getting a new dishwasher, get a high-efficiency one

4. Only run the dishwasher when it's completely full

5. Designate a single drinking glass for water each day

6. Use an instant water heater or kettle for hot water rather than letting the faucet run while the water heats up

Laundry:

7. Wash most clothes in cold water

8. If you have a washer that allows you to pick load size, make sure it matches the amount of clothes so you don't use twice as much water as you need

9. Wear stuff multiple times if it's not dirty. Ex: jeans, sweatshirts, dresses, jackets, pajamas

Bathroom:

10. Keep your showers short

11. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth

12. When washing your hands, turn the water off while lathering the soap

13. Get all your leaky taps and faucets fixed

14. Reuse your towels after showers

15. When running a bath, plug the tub THEN start the water

Gardening

16. Use drip irrigation systems if you can 

17. Group plants with similar water needs by each other to minimize waste

18.  Plant native species--in CA, that means a lot of drought-resistant plants, succulants, and minimal "lawn area"

19.  Use mulch on top of dirt around plants to help keep moisture in

20.  Instead of covering your backyard with grass, create a "lawn" out of a low-water ground-cover like Lipia

21. Hardscape as much of your yard as posssible: Use sand, river stones, sandstone slabs, and other mineral material

22. Only water early in the morning or after the sun sets--otherwise the water evaporates before the plants can absorb it

General outdoor:

23. Don't wash your car in your driveway

24.  Sweep outdoor surfaces to clean them rather than hosing them off

25. When refreshing your pet's water dish, take the "old water" and use it on plants instead of dumping it down the drain

Let's follow Israel's lead

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