CATCH THE DRIP

If Cal­i­for­nia is go­ing to con­serve wa­ter, the mission starts on the home front. Check our 43 tips for sav­ing each day, and send us your ideas too.

Los Angeles Times - - SATURDAY - BY RENE LYNCH rene.lynch@la­times.com

Rip­ping up the lawn is the sin­gle best way to save wa­ter, but do­ing that can take weeks, if not months, of con­sid­er­a­tion and plan­ning. And then there’s the cost. Many of us are just not ready to take that step. So what else can we do to help ful­fill Gov. Jerry Brown’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der man­dat­ing a 25% cut in ur­ban wa­ter use?

We’ve com­piled 43 wal­let-friendly tips for re­duc­ing your wa­ter foot­print. Some of th­ese steps are ob­vi­ous but bear re­peat­ing, like No. 25. And we know that some of th­ese tips save wa­ter at the ex­pense of us­ing an­other en­ergy source.

But wa­ter con­ser­va­tion ex­pert Tracy Quinn of the Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil said that mak­ing just a few small changes to our daily habits can re­sult in big wa­ter sav­ings. “Ev­ery lit­tle bit helps.”

In the kitchen

1 Post re­minder notes over all your sinks, be­gin­ning with the kitchen.

2 Don’t rinse scraps of food down the sink af­ter din­ner. Scrape them into your garbage pail.

3 It won’t kill you to do dishes in luke­warm wa­ter. Pre­tend you’re “glamp­ing.”

4 While wait­ing for the dish­wa­ter to warm up, use the cooler stream to fill up your pet’s wa­ter bowl, or ...

5… fill up any empty ice cube trays

6... fill re­us­able wa­ter bot­tles or a wa­ter pitcher that you keep in the fridge.

7 But if you ab­so­lutely need hot wa­ter, con­sider heat­ing up a teaket­tle at dish time and sup­ple­ment­ing it with the cooler wa­ter right out of the faucet. (Rub­ber gloves are rec­om­mended.)

8 Got ice cubes left over in wa­ter glasses af­ter a din­ner party? Toss them onto the lawn.

9 Fix that leaky kitchen faucet and any other leaks around the house. That drip, drip, drip may not seem like a lot but could waste hun­dreds of gal­lons a year, Quinn says.

10 Not ready to spend big on a wa­ter-con­serv­ing dish­washer, wash­ing ma­chine or toi­let? How about ef­fi­cient new faucet aer­a­tors and shower heads? Many cities of­fer re­bates.

11 Your dish­washer is at its most ef­fi­cient when you’ve got a full load.

12 Some dish­washer mod­els, how­ever, of­fer a half-load op­tion, which can be help­ful if you live alone or rarely cook.

13 No dish­washer? Con­sider pa­per plates and cups if you’re host­ing a huge bash. (Be­fore you buy, find out which ones can go in your com­post bin or your city’s re­cy­cling bin.)

In the laun­dry room

14 Wait un­til you have a full load be­fore wash­ing your clothes ...

15… but if that is not an op­tion, read­just the load-size con­trol.

16 Stop and think about the age of your wash­ing ma­chine (and dish­washer). If they’re 10 years or older, they’re not as wa­ter ef­fi­cient as they could be, says Ron Voglewede, global sus­tain­abil­ity direc­tor for Whirlpool Ap­pli­ances. The tech­nol­ogy has changed dramatically. Newer ma­chines “use

sig­nif­i­cantly less wa­ter and less time, and less en­ergy,” Voglewede said.

17 If your wash­ing ma­chine is old enough to drive, con­sider us­ing a coin laun­dry. It just might save you money.

18 Use the In­ter­net to check out ap­pli­ance re­bates of­fered by your wa­ter and en­ergy sup­pli­ers.

In the bath­room

19 Place a cup and re­fill­able wa­ter bot­tle in the bath­room for tooth­brush­ing.

20 Don’t walk away while the shower is “warm­ing up.” Be brave. Mean­while ...

21 Po­si­tion a sturdy plas­tic bucket or pitcher in your shower to col­lect the cooler wa­ter and then use it to fill a wa­ter­ing can for your pot­ted plants, to clean the shower stall or to fill the toi­let tank for flush­ing af­ter uri­nat­ing.

22 Aim for a three-minute shower. (Pre­tend you’re in the mil­i­tary.) Here’s the drill: Get wet. Sham­poo. Rinse. Con­di­tion. Rinse. Scrub down. Rinse off. Bonus points if you turn off the wa­ter dur­ing your sham­poo, con­di­tion­ing and scrub down.

23 Use a kitchen timer in the bath­room to track your shower time. The timer func­tion on your smart­phone works too.

24 If your bath­room sink takes for­ever to warm up, use a splash of heated teaket­tle wa­ter com­bined with tap wa­ter in a bowl to wash your face be­fore bed.

25 Don’t let the wa­ter run while you’re shav­ing.

26 Use this sim­ple test to make sure your toi­let tank is not leak­ing into the bowl: Put a few drops of food-safe dye in the tank, Quinn says. Give it 15 min­utes. If that color be­comes vis­i­ble in the bowl, you’ve got a leak.

27 Don’t flush the toi­let bowl just to throw away stuff, like a tis­sue. That’s what the trash can is for.

Be­yond the front door

28 Do you shower af­ter a work­out at the gym? Still keep it short.

29 Don’t wash your car in the drive­way. Why? It can use up to 100 gal­lons of wa­ter, Quinn said. Worse: Runoff sends de­bris and tox­ins into the storm drains and, in turn, the ocean.

30 Or go a dif­fer­ent route: Take “The Dirty Car Pledge” at LAWater­keeper.org and vow not to wash your car for 60 days. You’ll get a blue sticker to put on your dirty car and can then share the im­age on so­cial me­dia us­ing #Dir­tyCarPledge.

31 Stop servers be­fore they just plop down glasses of H2O at your ta­ble, un­less you in­tend to drink them.

32 Wash your dog at a self­serve pet wash or take Buster to a groomer.

In the yard

33 Talk to a gar­den­ing ex­pert about whether aer­at­ing your lawn — punch­ing lit­tle holes through the com­pacted soil be­low — can help you cut down on the wa­ter it needs. (Do-it-your­self aer­a­tor san­dals cost about $20.)

34 Make sure your sprin­kler heads are wa­ter thrifty. (Some cities of­fer re­bates on wa­ter-ef­fi­cient re­place­ment heads.)

35 Ad­just sprin­klers to hit only the lawn, not the side­walk, the front porch and your neigh­bor’s front porch.

36 Skip one or two lawn wa­ter­ings a week.

37 Scale back your sprin­klers’ run time by two to three min­utes.

38 Sweep side­walks in­stead of us­ing a hose to do the dirty work.

39 Shop around for rain bar­rels now, so you’re ready when the rain fi­nally hits. Many cities of­fer dis­counts.

40 Make sure hoses have wa­ter-ef­fi­cient spray noz­zles, and get rub­ber wash­ers to fix any leaks. Quinn says hoses with­out noz­zles can waste eight gal­lons or more of wa­ter by the time you walk back to the spigot to turn them off.

41 If you know you want to tear up the lawn but just don’t have a de­sign yet, con­sider let­ting it go brown un­til you make up your mind. (You might want to let your neigh­bors in on your plans.)

42 Price pool cov­ers. The av­er­age pool can lose a jaw-drop­ping 20,000 gal­lons a year to evap­o­ra­tion.

43 Use mulch or com­post­ing around plants, re­duc­ing how much wa­ter they need.

If we missed your fa­vorite ways to save wa­ter, please email us at home@la­times.com so we can add to this list on­line. You can also reach out to us on Twit­ter (@la­timeshome) or Instagram us­ing the hash­tag #DroughtBuster. If we get enough new tips, we’ll fea­ture them in an up­com­ing Satur­day sec­tion.

Karen Fred­er­icks For The Times

Karen Fred­er­icks For The Times

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