water conservation

Easy Steps You Can Take to Help Save Water During a Drought

From shorter showers to limited lawn watering, here are some things you can do to conserve water

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

As drought continues to intensify across the U.S. West, water supplies are dwindling and people are being asked to cut back on their water use.

In California, the entire state is experiencing some form of drought, ranging from moderate to exceptional, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report.

Here are a number of easy things you can do on a daily basis to help save water.


In the bathroom

  • Take shorter showers. Instead of keeping the water running the entire time, only turn it on to get wet and to rinse off.
  • While you wait for the shower to warm up, collect the colder water and use it to water your plants.
  • Consider using a low-flow shower head.
  • Don't flush the toilet when you don't have to. For instance, throw things like bugs or tissues in the trash instead.
  • Don't keep the faucet running when you're brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving.

In the kitchen

  • Only run the dish washer when it's full. When you do run it, try using a feature that will use less water.
  • If you hand-wash, don't keep the water running. Think about using two containers: one with soapy water for washing and one with regular water for rinsing.
  • Clean your fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water. Don't wash them under running water.
  • While you wait for hot water from the faucet, collect the colder water and use it to water your plants. Do the same thing if you're waiting for cold water.
  • Don't run water over frozen items that need to be defrosted. Let them defrost in the refrigerator or use the defrost option on your microwave.

In the laundry room

  • When you're using a washing machine, do a full load or, if you can, choose a setting that allows you to use less water for a lighter load.
The new drought data is out and it shows a slight increase of extreme drought in California compared to last week. Chief Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri is taking a look at the drought and ways to save water.


In the yard

  • Consider letting your lawn die in order to save trees and large shrubs.
  • Your lawn doesn't need to be watered if the soil is moist. Also, if the grass pops back up after stepping on it, it doesn't need to be watered at that time. If you have to water your lawn, consider the following points:
    • Only water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures aren't as hot.
    • Water in short bursts to prevent any water runoff.
    • Make sure your sprinklers are actually watering your lawn and plants and not the sidewalk, your house or the street.
    • Keep a watchful eye on your sprinkler system to make sure it shuts off when it's supposed to. Also, never leave a running hose unattended.
  • Consider planting drought-tolerant plants, ground cover, shrubs and trees.
  • Instead of using a hose to clean your driveway, patio or sidewalk, use a broom.

Car care

  • If you have to wash your car, make sure you use a hose that has a shut-off nozzle. If you can, use a nozzle that restricts water flow.
  • If you go to a car wash, go to one that recycles water.

The information referenced in this article came from Ready.gov, the American Red Cross and the California Department of Water Resources.

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