Some of us may remember droughts in years gone by and what it means to conserve water usage, however, with younger generations and immigrants, we could all use a sturdy refresher course to help by doing our part. Show off your water-saving savvy by following these tips:
- Participate in a water conservation rebate program. View available rebate programs at www.wateroff.org.
- Turn off water at the sink while brushing teeth, shaving and washing up.
- Take shorter showers, and decrease the water pressure.
- If it’s yellow, let it mellow… This goes double if you live alone: there’s really no reason not to! Each toilet flush eats up between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water – or up to three minutes of shower time. Wouldn’t you rather save that water instead of literally flushing it down the toilet?
- Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
- If you hand wash your dishes, don’t keep the water running continuously while you scrub.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, gutters and decks.
- Fix leaky faucets and sprinkler systems.
- Install water-wise appliances, like low-flow toilets and showerhead and faucet aerators. Look for the WaterSense label.
- Avoid using pesticides or herbicides on your yard and garden — the chemicals can contaminate groundwater and streams, and can also hurt kids and pets.
- In the yard, use mulch to keep moisture from leaving the soil and minimize the need to water.
- If you must water the lawn, water in the early morning or evening, and try to avoid watering on windy days. This will limit the amount of water that is evaporated by the sun or blown onto sidewalks and driveways.
- Plant a rain garden to add beauty to your yard, while absorbing and filtering runoff. Water absorbed in a rain garden will filter pollution otherwise headed for streams.
- Use a rain barrel to collect rain and help water your plants. Forty percent of the average homeowner’s water use is outdoors. Rain barrels reduce the stress on municipal water systems during the dry, summer months.
- Dispose of chemicals properly at a hazardous waste drop off center – don’t pour them on the ground, into the sewer, or down the drain.
- Water landscaping only when necessary
- Install automatic shut-off nozzles on all hoses.
- Replace your lawn with native plants and a drip irrigation system.
Russian River Drought Relief Program
To help Russian River communities save Lake Mendocino water, a coalition of local government agencies, water suppliers and cities from northern Sonoma and Mendocino County joined together to create the new Russian River Drought Relief Program. The program will offer Russian River residents the opportunity to replace older, water guzzling toilets with new, water efficient toilets. Residents will also be paid to remove their grass and replace it with drought tolerant landscapes. For more information, residents can visit www.sonomacountywater.org/drought or contact their local water supplier.