Last winter, the rains were plentiful. This spring and summer, the rivers have been gushing, lakes have been full and waterfalls have been crashing.
It’s a scene we haven’t had in the Bay Area in quite some time. But since the drought ended, all the regular water usage has returned – flushing normally, watering our gardens more than once a month, leaving the water going occasionally and not worrying about it…
That said, we’re still in California and we’re still in an accelerated state of global warming (according to most climatologists, anyway). So, there will be another drought. Here are some Bay Area-specific tips from the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) for surviving the next one:
Know your water provider’s Drought Program and its requirements
Every water provider should have a Drought Program. Contact them to make sure you know what their requirements are, ahead of the next drought. If you have CCWD, you can sign up for their newsletter to get updates.
Know how much water you are using
You can read your water meter to better understand how much water you’re using. However, that can be tricky. Here are some tips on CCWD’s website: www.ccwater.com.
Check for leaks
You can also utilize your meter to check for leaks. One of the most common leaks and wastes of water comes from the toilet. Check regularly!
Use efficient fixtures and appliances
You should always get EnergyStar appliances if possible, and you should have a toilet with 1.28gpf or less. Check if yours does at www.map-testing.com. Also, make sure your laundry loads are always full and don’t leave faucets running!
Convert lawns to gardens
Some water providers offer rebates for converting a lawn to a garden. For example, CCWD offers $1 per square foot of lawn converted ($1,000 maximum residential, $20,000 maximum Commercial/HOA). And California will give you a state rebate for front and back lawn conversions as well. Plus, it just looks prettier!
If you irrigate, do it efficiently
If you irrigate or have sprinklers, make sure the system is in good shape (no blocked or broken heads) so there’s no water waste. Try to water after the sun goes down or before it goes up to avoid evaporation. And turn the system off when rain is coming.
There are a million different simple ways to avoid water loss when the next drought occurs. Water is a still a precious commodity!