Even though the state’s reservoirs are full, climate experts worry California might be headed for another drought this summer. A recent issue of the U.S. Drought Monitor seems to confirm these fears and that means it’s time to take a serious look at conserving water.
“The outlook isn’t good,” said David Rizzardo, chief of snow surveys with the Department of Water Resources. He told the Fresno Bee , “One real concern of climate change is just this constant back and forth on the extremes. That makes water management extremely difficult.”
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, one-fifth of the state is experiencing a severe drought – the type of dry weather conditions seen only once every 10 to 20 years – including all of Kings County and large portions of Fresno, Kern, Madera, and Tulare counties . Another 24 percent of the state was experiencing a moderate drought when the report was compiled March 20, while every other part of the state, except its northern coast, is experiencing abnormally dry weather conditions.
Cutting back on your water usage is a good idea no matter what the weather is like. That’s because 20 percent of the state’s electricity and 30 percent of its natural gas is used to treat, transport, and use water, according to the California Public Utilities Commission .
Here are a few things you can do to conserve water and energy at the same time:
- Take shorter showers and turn the water off when you brush your teeth: Cutting the length of our shower by one to two minutes can help save five gallons of water each time while turning the water off when brushing your teeth can save three gallons of water.
- Clean your driveway with a broom instead of a hose: Sweeping any leaves, grass, or dirt that’s accumulated on your driveway can help save 100 gallons of water while helping you get some exercise and giving you a reason to spend some time outside.
- Water your lawn in the morning: Turning your sprinklers on before 8 a.m. can help you save 25 gallons of water each time you water the lawn. It reduces the amount of water lost through evaporation and makes sure your plants get every drop they need.
People who are truly serious about conserving water might want to do away with their lawns all together and switch to a xeriscape garden design that replaces grass and turf with drought-tolerant plants. This can help cut your water consumption by up to 30 percent according to the commission.
Finally, simple home upgrades and repairs like low-flow showerheads, high-efficiency toilets, and installing aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets, can go a long way toward reducing your water consumption. Simply fixing a leaky faucet can save up to 20 gallons of water each day.