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The typical American family uses about 400 gallons of water every day.
Julie Kim, Houzz Contributor
Rainfall is at record lows in many parts of the United States. California, in particular, is in the midst of an extreme drought. A professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley has stated that the state is on track for having the worst drought in 500 years.
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A recent law mandates that Californians reduce their water consumption 20 percent by the year 2020. The typical American family uses about 400 gallons of water every day. According to Rea Gonzalez, a representative at the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, most of that water — about 60 percent in relatively arid California — is used outdoors for watering the yard and filling a swimming pool or hot tub. So, obviously, a great place to start water conservation efforts is outside.
But water consumption indoors shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Gonzalez has outlined the top five most effective and budget-conscious ways for Californians to save water at home, detailed below. Now, if we could all just organize a mass rain dance …
1. Reduce outdoor watering. Since most residential water is used outdoors, Gonzalez says the easiest and most effective way to conserve water at home is to reducing watering times, water before dawn (between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., although early morning is best) and water in short bursts.
This strategy aims to let water seep deeply into plant roots in the most efficient way possible. Watering at dawn reduces the chance of evaporation in the hot afternoon sun. Watering in short bursts allows water to better soak into the ground. One suggested watering interval involves watering for five minutes, waiting 10 minutes for the water to soak in, and then watering again for another five minutes.
2. Check for broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Also, ensure that nozzles are directed toward your plants and not at a sidewalk or driveway.
3. Fix leaks in all plumbing fixtures.Check for and repair leaks in all toilets, faucets and showerheads. If possible, upgrade to high-efficiency models and install aerators to cut down on water amount but not pressure.
Don’t let minor leaks go unfixed. Amazingly, a leaky toilet wastes up to 200 gallons of water per day.
4. Install water-efficient devices. Rebates offered by your local water agency can significantly offset your initial expenses for efficient appliances. Every county and city agency offers different amounts, so check with your local agency. To give you an idea, here are rebates offered by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works (LADPW) for various devices:
5. Swap out your lawn with low-water plants. Your water supply agency likely offers a cash rebate for removing your lawn, too. According to Gonzalez, the LADPW offers $1 per square foot, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power now offers $2 for each square foot of lawn removed.
Not many children and dogs want to rollick around on a bed of succulents. Fake grass is another alternative for those who prefer the look and feel of lawn. It’s come a long way from the faux turf at the miniature golf course. Read more about the case for fake lawns.