Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tips to Save Water During California's Drought

Despite recent rains, the Govenor of California just declared a statewide water emergency. Our fine state is in the midst of a three-year drought.

Sustainable Swag is feeling the drought personally. Early last month, every household in our town was put on immediate mandatory water restrictions. For our family of four, that means we can consumer no more than 100 gallons of water per day.

The small coastal community where we live is off the main water grid. We have our own humble system of reservoirs and water tanks to serve about 2,000 residents, but they are almost bone dry. The picture above shows the bottom of our main local resovior before we got some wet weather a few weeks ago.

Each day in households around the country and across the globe, we allow a lot of water to flow down the drain. Many experts are predicting that water shortages will be a critical longer-term problem in the coming years. The restrictions our household is dealing with will be faced by many others in the near future.

What are some ways you can incorporate water conservation into your daily lives? Here are some quick water facts to give you an idea about how much water you can save if you make minor adjustments:

•Reduce your shower time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes and you will save 25 gallons. (we only shower every other day now).

•Switch to showers instead of a bath and you will save another 25 gallons of water. We save all our shower water and use it to flush the toilets.

•Make sure you turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. For a family like ours we can save up to 20 gallons at 5 gallons each. If you brush your teeth twice a day, that’s 40 gallons of water a day!

•Instead of using a hose to water your garden, put out buckets when it rains and reuse the rain water. Lose the lawn and consider landscaping your yard with beautiful drought-tolerant plants.

•Fill a pitcher with water and keep it in the refrigerator so you are not waiting at the sink for the water to get cold.

•Always make sure to fix leaky faucets, toilets, and underground pipes. Up to 20 gallons can be lost by a event a small faucet drip.

•Hand wash your dishes, but use a dish pan and don't keep the tap running. If you must use a dishwasher, use a low-flow model.

•Cut back on laundry use, or use a water-saving front load machine. A conventional washer can use up to 50 gallons on a SINGLE LOAD!

Just making small adjustments to your daily habits can add up quickly and make you feel good about helping solve our water challenges.