California Drought Declaration – How to Cut Water Usage Comfortably

January 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

Gayle Anderson was live in Santa Monica to learn what we can do since last Friday, January 17th, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued a proclamation declaring a drought state of emergency, urging Californians to reduce their water use by 20%.

In addition to asking the public to cut their water use, the proclamation:

  • Directs state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages.
  • Directs state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters.
  • Gives state water officials more flexibility to manage supply throughout California under drough conditions.

The proclamation follows a series of actions the Brown Administration has taken to ensure that California is prepared for record dry conditions. On January 3rd, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted the first snow survey of the year, which measures the water content in the state’s snowpack. State officials recorded the snowpack’s statewide water content at about 20 percent of average for this time of year. The results of this survey were similar to those of 2012, the driest on record. Not only is the snowpack dry, but the state has suffered from a lack of rain, with many areas ending 2013 with the lowest rainfall amounts on record including Sacramento and Los Angeles. In addition, storage in the big reservoirs is well below average for this time of year. The state’s two biggest reservoirs, Shasta and Oroville, are both at 57 percent of historical levels for the date. These extremely dry conditions follow two previous dry years statewide.

According to Save Our Water, the state’s water conservation public awareness campaign, the average Californian uses about 192 gallons of water per day. Because of these drought conditions, no Californian can afford to waste any water. Saving water is not hard. There are many easy ways to save water indoors and outdoors. You can help save water every day by following these water-saving tips:

Laundry Room:

  • Use the washing machine for full loads only to save water and energy
  • Install a water-efficient clothes washer.
  • Wash dark clothes in cold water to save water, energy and help your clothes retain their color.


  • Run the dishwasher only when full to save water and energy.
  • Install a water- and energy-efficient dishwasher.
  • Install aerators on the kitchen faucet to reduce flows to less than 1 gallon per minute.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running the tap.
  • Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.
  • Cook food in as little water as possible.
  • Select the proper pan size for cooking.
  • If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  • Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables and use it to water plants.


  • Install low-flow shower heads.
  • Take five minute showers.
  • Fill the tub halfway or less.
  • When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
  • Install aerators on bathroom faucets.
  • Turn water off when brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Install a high-efficiency toilet.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket.
  • Test your toilet for leaks at least once a year. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak.
  • Consider buying a dual flush toilet.
  • Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor.
  • Turn off the water while washing your hair.
  • When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  • Take a (short) shower instead of a bath.


  • Water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs, and flowers.
  • Water deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool.
  • Plant drought-resistant trees and plants.
  • Don’t overwater. Invest in a weather-based irrigation controller or a smart controller, which automatically adjusts the watering time and frequency based on soil moisture, rain, wind, evaporation and transpiration rates.
  • Don’t use water for outdoor clean-up jobs. Instead, use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios. If you have to use water to clean up outside, invest in a water broom that uses a combination of water and air pressure to aid cleaning.
  • Wash cars/boats with a bucket, sponge, and hose with self-closing nozzle.

Save Our Water is a statewide program aimed at helping Californians reduce their everyday water use. Created in 2009 by the California Department of Water Resources and the Association of California Water Agencies, the program offers ideas and inspiration for permanently reducing water use regardless of whether California is in a drought.

Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers Native Plants is doing its part to help homeowners keep their lawns attractive despite drought conditions.

The Theodore Payne Foundation, established 1960, operates a year-round, retail California native plant nursery offering hundreds of different species and cultivars, MANY OF WHICH ARE DROUGHT TOLERANT, and an education center with classes and field trips for adults and children.

Their mission is to preserve, propagate and promote California native plants, seeds and wild flowers – native treasures that provide color, fragrance, and habitat for wildlife.

The foundation’s Sun Valley grounds (in the NE corner of the San Fernando Valley) are a great place to visit. The TPF store offers books, seeds, garden tools and more. You’ll also find an art gallery, picnic area, hiking trails and friendly staff to answer questions about native plants.

There is no admission fee.

By the way, TPF has two classes this weekend:

Saturday, January 25th – Propagating California Native Plants
Sunday, January 26th – 3-Part Native Garden Design

Gayle was at the home of a gentleman who uses a system known as WeatherTRAK to save water and money when it comes to protecting his landscaping.

Drought Tolerant Plants

The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers Native Plants
10459 Tuxford Street
Sun Valley, CA 91352
818 768 1802

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If you have questions, please feel free to call Gayle Anderson at 323-460-5732 or e-mail Gayle at

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