Water Conservation Tips for Homeowners

2013 was the driest year in California’s history, which means we must do everything possible to conserve water inside and outside of our homes. Water conservation is not only the right thing to do, but when the Governor declared a drought emergency in January, he called on all Californians to save at least 20 percent of our water usage.

Here are water wise facts and tips to help you save water and save on your water bill.

Water Wise Facts:


What You Can Do at Home

What Action you can take
Clothes and dish washing Full loads only
Dishes by hand Don’t run water, soak pots before washing
Garbage disposal Compost vegetable waste
Food preparation:
Fruits and vegetables
Drinking water
Instead of running water:
Wash in a pan of water
Thaw in the refrigerator
Store a pitcher in the refrigerator
Toilets Test for leaks—Put food coloring in the tank. If there’s color in the bowl, you’ve got a leak
Personal hygiene:
Shampooing and washing
Instead of running water:
Plug the sink and rinse razor
Turn off water to lather
Lawn garden irrigation Adjust automatic watering by the season

How Much Water You’ll Save
Fifty percent of residential water use occurs outdoors. A 1,000-square-foot lawn uses 35,000 gallons of water per year. Some water districts offer rebates to replace sod with drought-tolerant gardens. When you save water, you can save money, too.

Outdoors Save this much
Fix leaky and broken irrigation 10%
Replace lawn with drought-tolerant yard 20 – 40%
Use a broom instead of hose to clean walkways 8-18 gallons/minute

Inefficient toilets, washing machines, and leaks waste the most water in your home. Some water districts offer rebates to replace inefficient appliances with efficient ones.

Indoors Save This Much Water
Replace pre-1990 toilets 38 gallons/day/toilet
Replace ineffective toilet flapper 7,000 gallons/month
Replace inefficient washing machine 16 gallons/load
Fix leaky washers 2,000 gallons/month
Install aerators in faucets 12 gallons/person/day
Replace inefficient dish washer 3-8 gallons/load
Install re-circulating pumps for hot water heaters 10,000 gallons/year
Install low-flow shower heads 2,900 gallons/year

Where to Get Info About Rebates and Additional Conservation Tips
Contra Costa Water District

East Bay Municipal Utility District

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Santa Clara Valley Water District

State Department of Water Resources

City of Petaluma
Sacramento County’s American River Water Company

Alameda County Water District

Sources: Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, www.Insidebayarea.com, Colorado State University Extension