As new water restrictions go into effect on June 1, there's plenty that Southern Californians can do at home to help conserve water.
“With water conservation, as with a lot of other sustainability issues, it's those individual actions that really add up. So it may not seem like a lot, but if everybody starts to take advantage of those practices and really make them everyday habits, it can actually add up over time,” says Rita Kampalath, sustainability program director for LA County’s Chief Sustainability Office.
She adds that conservation habits should be ingrained into our lifestyles, not just temporarily used during drought emergencies. “It's not just about our water use in our house, but we can start thinking about our water footprint overall.”
Inside your bathroom
Five-minute showers are optimal, and when waiting for water to heat up, put a bucket or watering can in the shower to conserve and recycle water, Kampalath says.
When brushing your teeth, turn off the faucet.
Outside your home
Over half of water usage happens outside, Kampalath points out, and one of the biggest things that we can do is rethink what our landscape looks like — and switch from grass and turf to native plants. However, water cuts shouldn’t be done at the expense of important vegetation and trees that help keep our city cool.
If you need to wash your car, it may be best to go to a commercial car wash since many of them recycle their water.
How you eat
A lot of water and energy go into food — and especially meat — production. So opt for more plants in your diet, buy locally, and don’t let your groceries or restaurant orders end up in the trash bin, Kampalath advises.
What tech you use
California is offering rebate programs for some appliances, so more residents will opt for energy-efficient products. Go to waterforla.com and socalwatersmart.com to find out what rebates you can qualify for.
“There are a lot of resources for washing machines, toilets, irrigation controls, and rain barrels, and things like that,” Kampalath says.