Dealing with the drought: 27 ways to make it easier


The drought California is facing is no picnic. Especially because there are few lush green lawns left to spread out on. The most recent gut punch is a round of mandatory cutbacks that went into effect on June 1, requiring “statewide savings to average 25 percent.” Even more harsh are the possible fines involved: “Local water agencies in Southern California can fine property owners up to $500 a day if they don’t abide by the new restrictions,” said ABC7.


The state has ordered restrictions (L.A. DWP customers can’t wash their car without a hose that can self close and shut off or water their lawn when it’s raining). But there are lots of other actions we can take to make the cuts less painful and also become waterwise—and they don’t include illegally tapping hydrants and trucking in water.

  1. Get rid of the grass. A “low-maintenance ground cover will “require less water and little to no maintenance, but they can thrive in poor soil and keep out unwanted weeds,” said Bob Vila. Check out groundcover options here. Unfortunately, rebates that were being offered through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s $350 million augmented funds are no longer available as of last week. “All the money, they said, was spoken for,” according to the L.A Times.
  2. Turf it. Artificial turf can provide the look of grass without the maintenance and some areas offer rebates and incentives. But before you go ripping out your lawn, check with your HOA, or you could end up like this guy.
  3. Don’t want to replace the lawn? Paint it green!
  4. Fix plumbing leaks. Look for excessive water in the gutters or mud puddles in your yard. If it’s an older irrigation system, you can be losing up to 75 percent of the water to leaks.
  5. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. It can save more than 200 gallons a month. The EPA has more ideas you can teach your kids about water savings.
  6. Do the same when lathering your hands with soap.
  7. Shaving in the sink? Fill it up instead of running the water and save hundreds of gallons a month.
  8. Get a pool cover and save up to 720 gallons of water a month that are no longer being lost to evaporation.
  9. Take your dog outside! Giving him a bath in the yard that needs to be watered anyway does double duty.
  10. Replace your washing machine—the second-largest water usage in the home. Look for Energy Star™ models, which can use 35 to 50 percent less water and 50 percent less energy per load,” said h2ouse.
  11. Install an instant water heater on the kitchen sink. It’s a convenience that also saves water and energy.
  12. Run your dishwasher only when full.
  13. Even better, get a new dishwasher, which can save up to eight gallons of water per load.
  14. Get a new dryer while you’re at it. Potential water savings: 16 gallons per load!
  15. Thaw food in the fridge instead of under running water.
  16. Compost instead of running your garbage disposal.
  17. Check your showerhead. “If your shower can fill a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model,” said Loudon Water.
  18. Get a new toilet. “A newer high-efficiency model can save 38 gallons a day per toilet” if yours is pre-1990, said the San Jose Mercury News.
  19. Recycle the water you use in your fish tank as fertilizer for your plants.
  20. Pull those weeds. They’re stealing water from the plants you do want.
  21. Water when it’s cool out. Many cities have already enforced watering time restrictions. Watering on days that aren’t hot and sunny can help save further.
  22. Don’t hose off your driveway; use a broom instead. Watering may not be allowed anyway, and the bonus is a great arm workout.
  23. Mulch it! You can save up to 250 gallons per month by using it around trees and other landscaping.
  24. Look for drought-tolerant plants. They hold up in the heat, save around 100 gallons of water per week, and succulents are on trend.
  25. Do your pool repairs underwater.
  26. Shorten that shower. Cutting your 10-minute shower in half can save a whopping 25 gallons.
  27. Install a drip system. It will cost a few bucks upfront but save you 120 gallons a month when watering twice a week.

Be sure to check for rebates in your area on the EPA’s WaterSense Rebate Finder page, and the Find Your Local Water Agency page. Some new appliances and water-saving items can save you money, for example, the Los Angeles County Waterworks District offers a $100 rebate on high efficiency clothes washers and weather-based sprinkler controllers.

Tripp Jones Real Estate for Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys, Call 661-733-4555 or 818-527-6292