How to Save Water During a Drought
Don’t let news of the impending “winter” rainstorms fool you– when California is not getting its biannual inch or two of drizzle, it’s sun, sun, sun. Some people say we’re blessed with beautiful, balmy weather all year long and it’s true, hands down, but everything comes with a price. Southern California especially goes long periods of time without any rain, and droughts lead to dry terrains, making SoCal literally a hotbed for fires. It seems ironic that we share a border with the Pacific Ocean yet the state is alarmingly already in its third straight dry year, this one being the driest. California Governor Jerry Brown has even officially dubbed it a “mega drought,” and the president has addressed California’s need to conserve water as the global climate becomes warmer and warmer. So if we didn’t before, it’s about high time that Californians start becoming more pragmatic about conserving water.
Angelenos use about 152 gallons of water per day per person but the statewide goal is to reduce usage by 20 percent by 2020. There are a lot of simple ways you can start conserving water: don’t let it run when washing your hands or brushing your teeth, try to reduce shower time and get any leaks fixed. A dripping faucet might not seem like a big deal at the time but it can waste up to 1,500 gallons of water per month! Los Angeles Department of Water and Power also offers water conservation equipment to its residents for FREE so there’s definitely no excuse for not taking advantage of this resource and reducing your water usage immediately at a time like this. LADWP has faucet aerators that range from 0.5 to 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm). Average savings on these appliances are up to 2.5 gallons per day, which saves approximately 900 gallons of water a year. Free 2.0 or 1.5 gpm showerheads are also available. These showerheads save up to 1.0 gallon per minute used, which is over 5,300 gallons of water savings per year!
Another smart way to reduce water waste is by placing a plastic bottle filled with water in the toilet tank. This helps reduce the amount of water used when flushing, and it’s also a free and recyclable alternative to purchasing a low-flush or dual-flush toilet. Another short term solution in your daily routine is to only do the laundry and use the dishwasher when it’s a full load. If you want to take a bigger step in reducing your water footprint, there are also several ways to retrofit your home with eco-friendly (and cost efficient!) appliances. Front loading washers are designed to clean clothes more efficiently and with less water. They also cause less damage to clothes than traditional washers and because of the state’s push towards water conservation, many cities are even offering significant rebates as an extra incentive for installing water-wise devices in your home. Front load washers are eligible for a $300 rebate through the SoCal Water$mart Program, as well as qualifying refrigerators, pool pumps and air conditioners. In the bigger picture, not only do the environmental benefits add up over time, so do the costs.
So while the paradox “Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink” may ring true of our circumstance now, it doesn’t mean that there’s a shortage of remedies to quench our (and the planet’s) thirst. Energy Star Washer