14 Ways to Conserve Water During the California Drought
On January 17th Governor Brown proclaimed a statewide drought emergency and asked all Californians to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent this year.
The drought in California is unprecedented. 2013 was the driest year in our state’s history and 2014 is predicted to have similar conditions. In our congressional district, the town of Lompico has been teetering on the brink of having no water at all, with just 100 days of drinking water left as of late January. The drought affects everyone from urban and rural communities, to farmers, fishermen, sportsmen, and large and small businesses. Without this precious natural resource, our economy, environment, and health are all at risk.
This severe water scarcity requires each of us to take measures to preserve the water we have, and it’s why I’m providing you with some helpful conservation tips from the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). For a more comprehensive set of tips on how you can preserve water in and around your home you can also visit SaveOurH2O.org, a public awareness campaign about the drought sponsored by ACWA and the California Department of Water Resources.
Here are 14 ways you can conserve water on a daily basis both indoors and out:
- Use washing machines for full loads only.
- Run the dishwasher only when full.
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- Install an aerator on your kitchen faucet to reduce flow to less than 1 gallon per minute.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Alternatively, you can compost vegetable food waste and save gallons of water every time.
- Install low-flow shower heads.
- Take a five minute shower instead of a 10 minute one.
- Turn your bathroom faucet off when brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
- Adjust your sprinklers to ensure only your yard is being watered, not your house, sidewalk or street.
- Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool.
- Landscape your yard with climate appropriate plants.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios.
- Wash vehicles with a bucket and sponge, and make sure your hose has a self-closing nozzle.
The small steps we take at home add up and can make a huge difference for our state.
I will ‘practice what I preach’ in my own home. I will also advocate sound policies in Congress that preserve water resources. This week I joined several colleagues in introducing new drought relief legislation that would authorize $473 million to assist drought-impacted communities. The legislation would provide immediate assistance to towns facing water shortages, like Lompico, and it would also invest in long-term solutions like water conservation and recycling projects. Importantly, the bill does not pit California water users against one another, or favor one interest group above the greater good.
The bottom line is that we’re in this together and we can take actions and make choices about water conservation that will make an important difference.
If you have any tips to share with me, let me know. I welcome your insightful thoughts and commentary.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress