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Saving water: Tips for conservation

Published On: Apr 28 2014 07:27:43 PM CDT

As the city of Santa Cruz prepares to implement water rationing on May 1 and the state remains in a state of severe drought, officials are offering a number of tips for residents on how to conserve water.

  • Turn off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving
  • Keep showers to 5 minutes and install flow restricting shower heads
  • Fix all plumbing leaks                                                                        
  • Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when full
  • Sweep paved areas instead of washing with a hose
  • Utilize Santa Cruz city rebates to replace toilets, washing machines and turf. Consider buying a Watersense Ultra High Efficiency toilet, which uses 1 gallon or less per flush. ($150 rebate). When replacing your washing machine, choose a high efficiency, energy star labeled model ($100 rebate).
  • Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket for garbage or disposing of outdated medications.
  • Properly repair and set irrigation systems to avoid run-off
  • Water at night or during the cool parts of the day and don’t water if it is raining.
  • Attach a shut-off nozzle to your hose. They are free from the city's water conservation office.
  • Collect shower water with a bucket while waiting for it it to heat up and use it to water your plants.
  • Apply two to three inches of mulch to retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds.
  • Adjust your watering schedule with the weather and season. Cut your watering times in half during the fall and turn your timer off in the winter.
  • Mow grasses higher, at 3 or 4 inches, to reduce water loss and promote healthy roots.
  • Check your sprinkler system for leaks and breaks regularly. Make sure sprinklers are pointed at the plants and water is not running to waste.
  • Don't assume your plants need water. Check the soil moisture first using a soil probe or screw driver.
  • Hand water or manually turn on irrigation valves rather than relying on an automatic timer.
  • Select water-conserving plants which only need periodic watering when established.
  • Remove lawn that is not serving a functional purpose. Rebates are available from the city of Santa Cruz.
  • Consider supplementing your irrigation with a rainwater catchment system or greywater.

More information is available on the city of Santa Cruz website.