Even during an average water year, water is precious. Droughts and water shortages are becoming more and more common here in California. In those dry years, every drop can count -- even more than normal.
What are some of the reasons for water shortages in California? As the state’s population grows, the strain on existing water supplies also grows. More people equals more people using water – at home and at work. Farming and other commercial uses of water have also been steadily expanding, using more and more water.
As California faces more demands for water, there is less overall water available. Scientists point to our planet’s changing climate as a cause of extreme weather events. One year California may have flooding. The next may be a drought. But overall, there is a strong trend towards hotter and drier weather in our state. That change in our weather means less snowpack to fill California’s reservoirs that store water for most of California’s residents.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do in your home to help reduce your water usage and help the environment.
Here are a few water saving tips to get you started:
1) Get your toothbrush wet, then turn the faucet off while you’re brushing your teeth.
2) Take slightly shorter showers or if you take a bath, don’t fill the tub quite so full.
3) Install low-flow showerheads and toilets. Water saving fixtures like these can reduce water waste by around 20%. Alternatively, you could also place plastic bottles filled with pebbles in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used when flushing.
4) Wait to wash clothes and dirty dishes until you can wash full loads.
5) Fix leaky faucets and toilets. According to the EPA, household leaks account for 1 trillion gallons of lost water per year in the United States.
6) Turn hoses off when not in use, such as when washing your car.
7) Plant drought-resistant plants for landscaping. Also, consider shrinking the size of your lawn or eliminating it completely. Watering lawns and landscaping uses lots of water.
8) Limit your watering so you don’t overwater your plants and lawn. This helps to avoid water runoff into streets and gutters.
9) Water early in the morning when cooler temperatures promote less water loss through evaporation. Adding mulch around trees and flowerbeds also works to conserve water by preventing evaporation.
10) Don’t hose down driveways and sidewalks; use a broom instead.