Saving water: Tips for conservation
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- Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket for garbage or disposing of outdated medications.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.
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