Despite more rainfall in the last few days that some cities have seen in more than three years, California is still in the midst of the worst drought in years.  Now more than ever it is important to be conscious of water use and discover ways to conserve water.  Here are some quick and easy ways to save water:

1) Run only full loads in your dishwasher or clothes washer.  Only running full loads equals less total loads.  If you run your washers less, you will save water and energy.  Also, running a dishwasher uses on average 6 gallons of water per load while studies have shown that washing dishes by hand can use up 27 gallons of water per load! Extra tip: try running the light cycles in your dishwasher or clothes washer.  Unless your jeans are soaked in mud or you left a brownie disaster caked on your baking pan for a week, chances are a light wash setting should do that job.

 2) Instead of using the garbage disposal, start a compost pile.  Most people run a heavy stream of water while using the garage disposal, consider instead saving those vegetable scraps to start a compost pile.  Compositing is an easy way to “upcycle” your food scrapes into natural and nutrient-rich plant soil.  Starting a compost pile is as easy as drilling holes in a lidded container.  Extra tip: keep a small scraps container under your sink that can be easily transferred to your outdoor compost.

 3) Bathe your pets outdoors in an area that needs watering.  Fido loves your lawn and your lawn needs watering, why not give Fido a rinse over your lawn?  Instead of letting all that water run down the drain, let it water your lawn. Extra Tip: to avoid losing some of that water to evaporation, try this in the morning when the sun is lowest.

 4) Plant drought-tolerance plants, like succulents, instead of water-heavy plants, like annuals.   There are various breeds of vibrantly colored succulents that can replace water-sucking annuals.  Succulents are hardy, resilient plants that take little water.  Extra Tip: Place some soil and succulents in a glass bowl for an easy and beautiful centerpiece for a wedding or dinner party.


Wedding Succulent CenterpieceCredit: Meurer Image Photography

5) Wash your car at a car wash instead of at home.  Washing your car at home can use up to 100 gallons of water while on average a commercial car wash can use up to half the amount per vehicle.  In addition, to reduce water use carwashes oftentimes recycle their water.   When you wash your car at home all the grey water and cleaning chemicals flow into the drains and eventually into the ocean.  Carwashes are required to safety dispose of the chemicals used to wash your car. 

 Being aware of your water use can not only help the drought situation but also save you money and help you discover new ways to help your environment.