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Southern California, If We Don’t Conserve Water We Will Shrivel Up Like A Raisin

Updated on November 30, 2009

Southern California and the rest of the world is facing sever water shortages due to politics, endangered species act and record low run off and rain fall. Specifically in Southern California where a majority of the water we use comes from fresh water imports from Colorado, Oregon and Mexico via a pumping system we are approaching a water crisis and now is the time to take action and reduce the strain on our water supply.

Water Wasting, Did You Know’s

The thought that our simple everyday tasks could be a contributor to the shortages we are now facing. With a little knowledge and simple changes in behavior we can change the way that we think about water and treat it like the precious life giver that it is.

Waster facts:

  • We drink less than 2.5% of the total fresh water we use in our homes and workplaces. That is an astounding figure, one that has contributed to the drought and water shortages we see in states like California.

  • Over 40% of the total fresh water used in an average California home goes to irrigating our landscape.

  • We also waste a lot of water to flush our toilets as many homes have not upgraded to low water use systems.

Making a few simple changes to your home's environment can make a big difference in the amount of water and money you save each month. For those in San Diego area that need an extra incentive, the City of San Diego Water Department even offers a voucher program for those who use low flush toilets and high efficiency washing machines. This is true for many areas of the United States, "It pays to conserve, become a proactive contributor to the solution"

Water Conservation Inside Of Your Home

In the United States, showers are responsible for 18% of a homes indoor water use! One study estimates that American's consume 300 billion gallons of water everyday. That's an average of 250 gallons per person, per day. You can help reduce this number, and save money, by using these tips in your home for more efficient water usage.

Un-efficient showers & faucets pour precious water and money down the drain!

By simply changing your shower head to a high performance shower head, you can cut down your water use in the shower by up to 60%, using only 1 to 1.5 gallons per minute, instead of the 4 or 5 gallons per minute used by less efficient shower heads.

Great shower heads that save and feel good too

Oxygenics, Spoiler, EcoFlow by Waterpik,

You can also install more efficient faucets, which use 1.5 gallons of water per minute as opposed to the standard 3 to 5 gallons per minute. If this isn't practical, just add pressure reducing valves or aerators, which are even more cost effective, to your existing faucets. According to the EPA, the addition of a pressure reducing valve, set to reduce pressure by half, for example, can reduce water consumption by 1/3, while aerators, which are added directly to faucets, can reduce water use by up to 60% without having any effect on water pressure.

Is your toilet a flushing water waster in your home?

Is your toilet a flushing water waster in your home? The average toilet uses 4.5 gallons of water per flush. Replacing your conventional toilet with a low-flow toilet that only uses 1.2 gallons per flush will significantly decrease your water consumption, reducing water use by about 34%. However, replacing your toilet with a low flow toilet is pricey (though it can pay for itself in 5 to 6 years through savings in water use) and not always practical. For those in San Diego, you can also take advantage of the city's low flow toilet voucher program, which helps to make the toilets more affordable. There are some other ways you can remedy your toilets water use, like placing a weighted object in your toilet's tank, such as a brick or plastic container filled with pebbles. This works to displace the water in your toilet's tank, which means it takes less water to fill it.

Tip for finding out if your toilet is leaking: Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 600 gallons a month.

More Green Tips for conserving water inside the house

Check for leaks and repair them. Listen for dripping faucets and toilets that flush themselves. In a typical home, leaks account for 15 percent of all water use.

  1. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead, and save gallons every time and end up with great material for your garden too.
  2. Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary.
  3. Make sure there are aerators on all of your faucets. Install an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will also reduce heating costs for your household.

  4. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks, so that every drop goes down you not the drain.

  5. Wash your produce in the sink or a pan that is partially filled with water instead of running water from the tap. Collect the water you use for rinsing produce, and reuse it to water houseplants.

  6. Don't use running water to thaw food. Thaw your food in your refrigerator especially beef, fish and poultry it is a safer way to defrost your food.
  7. When you clean your fish tank, use the water you've drained on your plants. The water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.

  8. If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.

  9. Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You'll save up to 1,000 gallons a month

  10. Use only Energy Star appliances.

  11. Diswashers and washing machine's, wash your dishes and clothes on the light load setting and run them with full loads. This will also save electricity. Note: Bipass the steam heat or drying cycle of your dishwasher this will save some water and electricity as well.

  12. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth

  13. Keep a bucket by your shower, instead of letting the warm up water go down the drain, put your bucket in there and use it to water your house plants or outdoor plants.

San Diego County Water Saving Rebate Program : You can save when you save and use your water wisely. Tour the incentive rebates available to make your San Diego Homes more water friendly

What can you do and why you should.

Water Conservation Outside Of Your Home

Plants need water to survive, just like people, but you can still save water and have a beautiful landscape. Create your landscape by using plants that either doesn't require lots of water, or using plants that are native to your area.

In San Diego, the San Diego Water Department offers information on several water conservation programs, including its guide to "California Friendly Landscapes." Native plants will be better suited for your climate, and shouldn't need as much extra watering or care. In fact, according the EPA, having a garden of indigenous plants could cut down your garden water usage by 50%!

Water efficient landscapes can be beautiful this is an  example of a xeriscape garden.
Water efficient landscapes can be beautiful this is an example of a xeriscape garden.

We Need to conserve water on the outside as well.

While a lot of water waste happens on the inside of our homes a large amount of water is wasted outside of the home as well. So being water efficent outside the home counts too. Again all the steps you take will have a big impact and it all begins with you.

Tips for water conservation outside of your home

  • Instead of using water to clean off leaves and debris use a broom to sweep

  • Install an outside rain catcher system to irrigate your landscape.

  • Mulch and use bark chips to help water needing beds to hold moisture more effectively. Mulch should be 2-4 inches deep which will help with soil temperature, control weeds and improve water penetration.

  • Use native plants & Xeriscape (pronounced zeer-i-scape) is derived from the Greek word xeros, which means dry, think drought tolerant planting, desert landscapes, rock gardens. Annuals: Portulaca, California poppy, cosmos and zinnias. Perennials: Yarrow, daylilies, lavender, lamb's ears and African daisies. Shrubs: Butterfly bush, heavenly bamboo, oleanders, coyote bush and cotoneaster. Trees: Oaks, crape myrtle, olive, hackberry and jujube. Vines: Cat's claw, potato vine, trumpet vine, honeysuckle and wisteria
  • Install a grey water system if your state allows it and use water saved from inside the home (tip 15) to water your plants.
  • Use drip line watering in your beds, less waste due to evaporation.

  • Avoid watering during the hottest periods of the day to prevent loss through evaporation.
  • Use slow release or low-concentration fertilizer and don't over fertilize because it increases growth rate that adds to higher water demand.

  • Forget the hose when washing your car. Did you know that there are now waterless car washing products available that don't require a drop of water?

Rebate programs for water efficient landscapes

Weather based watering system installation incentive

Sources for Southern California Water Blueprint details every thing to rebates to device incentives available to help you save water, money and the environment in which we live.

California Friendly Landscapes Plant lists for saving water

For those outside of Southern California it is easy to find information and local programs available to you simply by typing in " your county name & water " in the search box of your favorite search engine

Don't feel overwhelmed into inaction

I know that we all leed busy lives and that the above recommended tasks can seem like they would require time and effort especially if you want to take advantage of all the rebates and incentives available but also figuring out what are truly good products for concerving water as well as what is also green to the earth and your wallet as well.

A hint is that you dont have to go that alone there are now consultants and services that can help you be and become a better world dweller and coordinate all the changes described above and help you through the process.

Nationwide what they call the Leed program is another source of experts in the green way and leed consultants are throughout the states.

Are you passionate about saving water? Share your thoughts and tips here

Submit a Comment

  • Jennifer profile image


    10 years ago

    Great hub! I think that most people spend way too much money on their lawn. In CO, you had to have green grass or you would be fined by the HOA. Where I lived was a desert and in drought conditions. You couldn't win. The water company said you could only water twice a week, but the HOA fined you if your grass was brown. You couldn't water twice a week and have green grass. here in Ohio, people don't care so much. Very few have sprinkler systems and people actually park their cars on lawns without a care. That would be unheard of in CO. Great tips!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I think this is an excellent little hub page...this is so true...not just for Southern California. We've had some issues here in the south, there was even one town in Georgia fighting with a town in Tennessee over a shared water source...

    I particularly like how the this article gave specific things that we as individuals can do, this is so key for truly making a difference - - what is that "no one can do everything but everyone can do something"...

    ...well, the first step is know what action to take - so her list is much appreciated.

    I'm glad I saw this page :)


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