Water conservation has been a hot topic for a long while on the West Coast. Within the last few years, the situation has gone from concerning to severe crisis. So much so, the California government has passed special bills mandating water restrictions and issued a state of emergency. The quality and quantity of usable water effects every aspect of our lives and our surroundings, now with looming and devastating consequences. More than ever before, Californians can do their part to aid in the conservation efforts.
Oftentimes, it’s easier to continue about our daily lives (I’m ashamed, but guilty as well) when it comes to large topics where we feel our efforts are too insignificant to make a difference in helping such a large problem. There is good news though. One doesn’t in fact, need to move mountains to help, only thoughtfully implement a few easy principles in their daily routine. Here are a few ways to start . . . we’ll be doing these at the Martin-Moro household so don’t worry, you won’t be alone! A lot of below may seem simple, which is a good thing. It’s pretty incredible the results for just one person or household in a week or months time.
Indoor water saving tips:
1) If you have an outdated dishwasher, you can update it to the Energy Star brand. This will save you some on your monthly utility bill plus a partial tax write off.
2) Alternatively and more cost effectively, you can consume less water by hand washing dishes. Having a dishwasher is convenient and a big plus when entertaining but I actually find dishwashing a relaxing activity (trust me, I don’t say this for all household chores).
3) Soaking pots and pans instead of keeping the water running while scrubbing those stubborn food scrapings can save time and a lot of water. This will also save YOU energy too!
4) Use garbage disposal sparingly or better yet, if you have the outdoor space and are feeling extra hippie dippie, start a compost with extra food scraps.
5) Wash food (fruits, vegetables, meat) in a pan of water rather than running the tap. I’ve tried this and believe food actually gets cleaner, especially for those veggies like broccoli, lettuce, celery that have all those nooks and crannies.
6) Recycle the pan of water for food prep by watering house plants, indoors or out. Brilliant!
7) Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per year.
8) Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. Sounds difficult for those stressful mornings but easy enough. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
9) This one will be the hardest for me. I don’t consider myself a girlie girl but man, I love a good bubble bath. When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on and adjust to the desired temperature as the tub fills.
10) Alternatively, take 5 minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires 70 gallons of water.
11) Turn off the water while brushing teeth or washing face, save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons per week for a family of four. This is also great to get your kiddos into this routine while they’re youngsters. I still remember the Sesame Street episode where a kid was brushing his teeth with the water on while fish in a lake were freaking due to the simultaneous sinking water level.
12) Ahem, gentlemen and Venice Boardwalk’s bearded ladies. Plug and fill up the bathroom sink when shaving instead of running the water and save up to 300 gallons per month.
13) Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
14) When washing hands, turn off the water while you lather.
15) Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save gallons of water every time.
Outdoor water saving tips:
* Some of the below points are now required by the government. For more info and further initiatives enabling the government to give money back for your efforts, please read more at http://ca.gov/drought/.
1) Regular inspection of irrigation systems and interior plumbing including: sprinklers, hoses, toilets, faucets, laundry hook ups, pool filters and boilers. Replace/update with energy-efficient and water saving features. One drip every second from a leak or loose plumbing connection adds up to five gallons per day.
2) Monitor irrigation and avoid watering until 48 hours after significant rainfall.
3) Clean sidewalks, driveways and porches with a broom or blower rather than a hose.
4) Upgrade your curb appeal and outdoor areas with drought tolerant landscaping.
Naturally, number four really gets my creative JUJU flowing. Below are some of my current gardening inspirations that require less water and maintenance. When using drought tolerant landscaping, also consider indigenous and native plantings. They are familiar with the climate, thrive easily and will help the effort in attracting more wildlife, therefore continuing the circle of life . . from seeds to bugs, bees and birds. Not only is it great for the environment, it’s less work, which seems like a win-win to me!
Coming soon on JUJU: A go-to shopping list of my favorite current landscaping materials and plants to beautify your space and limit your water usage.
(Images via Pinterest)