Ways to conserve water

Citizens across the state are impacted from the water shortage, from small rural towns in danger of running out of water to cattle farms selling off substantial numbers of their herds. In the midst of the alarming circumstances, it is imperative that Californians cut down on their water usage to ease the effects of the drought. Though doing so may seem like a daunting task, there are several simple ways citizens can ensure that not a drop of this precious resource goes to waste.

Though these steps are seemingly insignificant, overall water consumption can dramatically decrease when citizen are aware and willing to make small alterations in their daily lifestyle. But until the drought is finally quenched, buckle up California, it’s going to be a wild – but not wet – ride.


In the Garden:

Recycle used water on garden plants. Every time the family pet’s water is changed and boiled vegetables or pasta are drained, unwanted water is often dumped straight down the sink without a second thought. However, this water can be further utilized by quenching the thirst of garden or houseplants. Place a bucket or basin over the sink drain to catch water that can be saved for a later use.


What not to do:

Don’t pour hazardous waste down the drain. If toxic chemicals from paint, medicine and harsh cleaning sprays are dumped down the sink, they can make their way into the water supply, decreasing the amount of water safe for everyday use.

Don’t run the tap when you don’t need it. Turn the faucet off when flowing water is not necessary, such as when brushing teeth or lathering hands with soap.


When Washing Dishes:

Rinse with standing water, not tap. When rinsing items such as fruit, vegetables, pans or razors, water can be saved by washing in a few inches of standing water instead of letting the faucet run continuously.

When Cooking:

Use the right sized pans, plates and cups. Instead of using oversized pans, plates and cups, choose sizes that are the proper size for the task at hand to ensure that only the necessary amount of water needed to wash these cooking and eating essentials is used.

In the Shower:Get a free, low-flow showerhead from the City of Palo Alto. The city’s Water-Wise House Call program is offering Palo Alto citizens a free indoor and outdoor water survey. According to the City of Palo Alto’s website, “trained surveyors will review your water use, provide low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and toilet flappers (if needed) free of charge and make site-specific recommendations for water efficiency, including suggested changes to your landscape irrigation schedule.” Becoming more aware of one’s home water-consuming appliances is vital in finding methods to reduce one’s water usage. To schedule an appointment with Water-Wise, call (800) 548-1882.

Doing Laundry:

Only run full loads. Whether it is the dishwasher or washing machine, make sure it is packed to the maximum capacity to reduce the number of loads that need to be done, which can save gallons of water a day.


Put fruit and vegetables scraps in the compost instead of in the garbage disposal. Because most garbage disposals require running water to properly grind organic remnants, composting scraps would save gallons of water each day. Keeping a home compost can be used for natural fertilizer and will also help avoid clogged pipes and polluting the water supply.