6 Tips for Saving Water
California faces a drought emergency in 41 counties. After undergoing a second consecutive dry winter with little snowfall in the Sierra Nevadas, the past two years were the second driest two-year drought on record for many parts of Northern California. Since October of last year, the state has had less than half its average rain and snowfall, with some regions only receiving a quarter of normal precipitation rates.
In this severe state of drought, everyone is encouraged to do their part to save water. Helen Dahlke, associate professor of integrated hydrologic sciences at UC Davis, advises the population to treat water as a limited natural resource. “Every single drop of it is precious. [We should] not take it for granted,” said Dahlke. Below, she offers some tips on how to efficiently save water in the home and in landscaping.
- Use a glass of water while brushing teeth or shaving instead of keeping the tap running.
- Use the dishwasher when cleaning dishes. “Dishwashers are much more efficient in water use than cleaning dishes under running water,” said Dahlke.
- When waiting for cold water to warm up in the shower, collect it in a bucket and use it for watering plants.
- Buy locally-produced food to support farmers during this drought. “Consider the water footprint of your diet by limiting your dietary dependence on water-intensive foods such as red meat and nuts,” said Dahlke.
- Check your landscaping irrigation. Monitor any excess water running into the street when sprinklers are activated. “If water is running off, then you might be watering too much and should reduce the length of time that you are irrigating,” said Dahlke. Repair any broken sprinklers that may be pointed in the wrong direction.
- Spread mulch around perennial plants in your garden. Mulch moistens and cools down soil, limiting the need for frequent watering. The mulch should not touch any trees or shrubs.