After almost five years of efforts to conserve water, California’s water use is currently where it was
the drought began.
Why did the conservation efforts drop? The hot and dry weather is one of the reasons. The high summer temperatures and lack of rain have caused people to use their sprinklers more. In April, Governor Jerry Brown declared the drought emergency over. This declaration prompted media coverage of water conservation to decline and with it people’s focus on saving water. Another reason for the decline in conservation, many cities, water districts and privately run water companies have removed their water conservation rules and are no longer limiting the number of days outdoor irrigation can be used.
With 47 percent of the state of California still classified as being in some sort of drought, water conservation needs to become more of a way of life for everyone. Not just to save money in your own home, but also to save this vital natural resource that everyone relies on.
How can you play a part in conserving water?
1. Take inventory of how much water you use. Especially now that the weather will be cooling down, you may be tempted to take a few extra minutes in a hot shower. If you are using a standard shower head, just staying in the shower for an extra minute wastes more than two gallons of water.
2. When the weather cools down and the rainfall increases, indoor and outdoor plants require less water. Use a moisture meter to know when your plants really need to be watered.
3. Install efficient faucets and shower heads. A fast and easy way to reduce how much water you use in your home is to install aerators on your faucets and shower heads. These perforated metal sleeves reduce water on an average of four percent. Make sure to install showerheads that are rated to use less than 2.5 gallons per minute.
4. Upgrade your toilets. The number one water waster in your house is your toilet. If you aren’t able to upgrade to high-efficiency toilets, there are other options to help you conserve. The toilet bank and toilet tank dam are easy low cost ways to reduce your water usage. You can find rebates for high-efficiency toilets at
5. Check for leaks. A single dripping faucet can waste more than 3, 000 gallons a year. To check for leaks in pipes that can’t be seen, monitor your water meter for two or more hours at a time when no water is being used. If the meter reading has gone up, there is a leak.
Adapted from Rogers, Paul. The Mercury News. California Water Use Back to Pre-Drought Levels as Conservation Wanes. March 10, 2018; AM Conservation Group. 5 Easy Ways to Save Water This Fall. September 5, 2015