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6 Simple Ways to Save California’s Water for Earth Week

Celebrate Earth Week Save Our Water graphic

Published: 18 April 2022

Despite the rainfall this month, California and the western U.S. remain in a severe climate-driven drought. The recent rain and snow are much-needed but don’t make up for the record-dry start to the year.

As we celebrate Earth Week 2022, it is important that Californians come together to save one of our most precious resources: water. Now is a great opportunity to commit to helping our planet and our state by taking small steps to save water.

Here are a few small changes to make around the home and outdoors that can potentially save millions of gallons of water as we face another hot and dry summer.

1. Move on from the lawn

About half of all household water use is spent outside the house on landscaping. The biggest culprit is thirsty lawns. This Earth Day, the best way to save water and preserve our environment is to finally say goodbye to your lawn.

While removing a lawn may seem daunting, it can ultimately save each household hundreds, or even thousands of dollars per year on water and lawn maintenance, depending on the size of the lot. Plus, no more spending countless hours per week on mowing and weed removal.

This might seem like a big undertaking, but resources are available to help! Check with your local water supplier to find out if they offer rebates or incentives for removing grass lawns.

Drought tolerant landscape garden

 

2. Upgrade to smart irrigation

A small investment in drip irrigation is a great way to save water and money on your water bill. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses focus water distribution to the root of each plant instead of casting water into the air like sprinklers.


This keeps plants happy, minimizes the amount of water run-off and evaporation, and reduces the amount of watering needed in your yard. It also keeps water off the leaves of each plant, which can prevent damage to plants during periods of hot weather.

Upgrade your irrigation system with a smart timer and put your watering on autopilot. These devices connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and will automatically skip watering on days when rain is in the forecast. Some water districts even offer rebates to trade sprinkler systems that guzzle precious water with smart irrigation systems. Check with your local water agency to see if rebates are available.

Drip irrigation in a flower bed

3. Choose native California plants for your garden

Low-water use native California plants are uniquely adapted for our state’s pattern of long, hot summers that see little or no rainfall. Because of this, they typically require little and sometimes zero supplemental watering. Native plants also save gardeners time and money, since they tend to require less maintenance, fertilization, moving, and pruning and watering.

Not only are California native plants easier to take care of, but they are also exquisite, and the local bees, butterflies and hummingbirds they attract put on an amazing show. Visit your local garden store this week to see the beautiful water-wise plants that will thrive in your yard.

 

Lavender bush drought tolerant landscaping

 

4.  Fix leaks around the house

Many people do not realize that the cause of an increase in water usage is a leaky pipe or faucet. Tightening loose fittings and replacing leaky pipes around the home can save 27 to 90 gallons of water each day.

This economical move is by far one of the simplest ways to help save water year-round. One way to get started is to check for water damage in and around the house, replace broken faucets and fix or replace broken toilet fill valves. Be sure to also run your sprinklers for a few minutes during the daytime and hunt for sprinkler heads that may need to be replaced.

Leaky faucet for Earth Week

5. Water plants, not pavement

Another quick and simple fix that can save water and keep your plants healthy is to make sure that all sprinkler heads are aiming water directly toward plants in your yard, and that no water is running off onto roads or sidewalks.

Water that runs off onto concrete quickly evaporates, especially during hot weather. Preventing water runoff and evaporation drastically reduces the amount of supplemental watering needed to maintain plants during the hot and arid months.

Water plants and not pavement

6. Care for your trees 

Many people neglect trees around their home to save time and water. But failing to properly care for your trees by providing the water they need to survive and thrive during California’s hot and dry seasons is counterproductive.

Trees provide shade, which can help reduce the amount of supplemental water needed to maintain your yard. Also, when trees become parched, they often drop large branches, succumb to disease, or even fall down, which can cause thousands of dollars in property damage. Trees also reduce the amount of pollution in the air, reduce erosion and provide a habitat for birds and native species. Having healthy trees near windows can also help lower your electricity bills during the summer by keeping your house cool.

Taking care of trees should be a priority for any property owner. To learn more about how to care for trees around your property, visit saveourwater.com.

Tree in front yard Save Our Water Earth Week