We all know that saving water is important. This becomes even more crucial when the occasional drought strikes. This “slow motion natural disaster” is a yearly occurrence in the U.S., and no city has had more than its share of dry spells better than California. Its Mediterranean climate is typically characterized by a rainy season that occurs from early October to late March followed by a long, dry period that starts from April to September. These dry periods can go to extremes; in fact, it didn’t rain in California for three years straight in 2014.

Unfortunately, scientists say that prolonged drought in California will recur in the future. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening by following one simple rule: minimize your water usage.

How to Save Water in a Drought

Did you know that you can save 10 gallons of water each day just by turning off your faucet while brushing your teeth? Oftentimes, conserving water only requires a little bit of effort and sacrifice on your part. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Install a more efficient toilet system. Your toilet is a total water hoarder. One flush eats up around 3.5 and 7 gallons of water – same as a three minute shower at the gym. Replace your old toilet with a newer model so you can save up to 19 gallons of water each day.

Lessen your shower time. If you’re the type of person who showers for 10 minutes, then you’re consuming 25 gallons of water daily. Cut back your shower time to 5 minutes and save 12.5 gallons each day.

What if you really need your long showers? Just try cut back a minute or two and build from there. Decreasing your daily shower time for even a minute less can save you 750 gallons in a month.

Be efficient when doing your laundry and dishes. Maximize water usage by waiting until your washing machine and dishwasher reach their full loads. This saves you around 15 gallons of water—and tons of patience.

Practice tough love with your lawn. Don’t water your lawn everyday. Instead, let it go dormant for 3-4 weeks to save water. After 4 weeks, water it again. Make sure that you use enough to wet the soil down to 5 inches. And while this procedure may not make your grass green, it will be enough to keep it alive until the drought ends.

Some people cringe at the thought of letting their beloved grasses turn brown. One way to solve this is to spray non-toxic dye on your lawn to give it a fresh, green color. It only takes a hand sprayer to apply it, so no need for complicated setups.

Ditch the sprinklers. Decreasing the time you use your sprinklers for even 3 to 5 minutes less could save between 2 and 5 gallons per day; however, hand watering your garden can save you up to 40% more.

Use a bucket when cleaning your car. It’s wasteful to wash cars regularly when you’re experiencing drought. It’s also a bad idea to rely on car wash companies, since they waste a lot of water with their high-pressure hoses. The best way to clean your house is by filling a bucket with water and using a sponge. To make it more efficient, add a quarter cup of white vinegar to lessen car streaks. The beauty of this system is that you don’t need to rinse it afterwards.

Fix leaking pipes. Leaking pipes can lose more than 500 gallons of water per month. It’s a tremendous waste, since they could have been used in more efficient and functional ways. It’s really important to check for those leaks and repair them as soon as you can. The best places to check are your pipes, which can found:  

  •         Above your house’s ceiling.
  •         Under your floors.
  •         Near your dishwashers.
  •         Near your water heater.
  •         Near your washing machine.
  •         In your toilet.

It’s highly advisable to hire a full-service plumbing company like BSCI for a thorough inspection of your pipes. Some leaks may not be visible to the naked eye, so expert knowledge about plumbing can come in very handy during these times. There are also cases where leaking pipes can be dangerous, so leaving it to the professionals can be the safest thing you can do for yourself and your home.