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It’s no secret that California is currently in a water crisis. With the state enacting an emergency drought plan and some cities establishing strict drought rules, people are looking to conserve as much water as possible. In an effort to find some more creative ways to use less water, we turned to some of our sustainability-minded authors for ideas. Read on to find out some ways to reduce your water use that go beyond spending a little less time in the shower.

9780520285354Allison Lassiter, editor of Sustainable Water (available July 2015):

“Integrate more drought tolerant landscaping. Throughout California, outdoor water use ranges from 30-80% of household use. This is an easy place to conserve! Talk to your local nursery or cooperative extension (which includes helpful Master Gardener programs) to find out more about drought tolerant landscaping options that will meet your needs. You don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach. Incremental changes will still help reduce home water use.”


9780520287907David Carle, author of Introduction to Water in California, 2nd Edition (available January 2016):

“Running faucets consume two to five gallons every minute. Turn water off after wetting the toothbrush or rinsing the razor, and you can save three or more gallons each time you brush your teeth or shave. Running water down the drain while waiting for it to get hotter (or colder) is a thoughtless waste of a precious resource. If you are prone to that mistake, try keeping a pitcher handy that will be used to water house plants or go into the refrigerator for drinking.”



Tim Palmer, author of Field Guide to California Rivers:

“Buy a gray car that doesn’t show the dirt, and never wash it. Nobody ever had their car break down because it wasn’t washed. A 10-minute hose-down uses 100 gallons of water.”




9780520268555B. Lynn Ingram, author of The West without Water:

“Become more familiar with the “embedded,” or virtual, water in the foods and products you use. This “water footprint,” provides an accounting of the total amount of water used in producing a crop or product. Keeping track of our water footprint will ultimately help individuals practice more intelligent water usage (a water footprint calculator can be found here).”