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Rain is Here but Another Dry Winter Predicted: It’s Time to Save Water

rain falling with tree in background

Published: 21 October 2021

With rain headed our way, now is the time to turn off sprinklers and let nature do the watering.

While this rain is a welcome change, drier than normal conditions are likely here to stay this winter. The California Department of Water Resources estimates we need 140 percent of average precipitation to get our reservoir storage back to where it needs to be. As the Western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, now is the time for Californians to step up and conserve water because every drop counts.

Half of Residential Water Used Outdoors

Did you know that 50 percent of water used at home is for outdoor purposes? Activities such as landscape sprinkler systems, potted plant irrigation and car washes add up to large amounts of water usage. With the winter months approaching, there are many ways to significantly reduce water usage outside of the home.

Easy, actionable steps you can take today include:

  • Turn off your sprinklers and other irrigation systems when rain is in the weather forecast.
  • Harvest rainwater on your property.
    • Check out five steps to collect rainwater.
  • Install automatic shut off valves for your outdoor sprinkler systems.
    • Installing a drip irrigation system and a smart controller can save 15 gallons each time you water.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean outdoor areas.
    • Using a broom to clean outdoor areas can save 8–18 gallons every minute.
  • Planting water-wise plants.
    • Check with your local water agency on the best plants for your area. It is best to use water-wise, California-native plants when possible.
  • Setting mower blades to three inches.
    • Raising the height of mower blades encourages deeper roots and saves 16–50 gallons of water per day.
  • Laying mulch around your plants and or yard.
    • Laying 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch around your yard can reduce your watering routine and keep the soil moist.

Organic mulch can be anything from pine needles or kitchen compost to grass clippings or shredded leaves. Using natural excess material is not only good for your garden, but also helps to keep costs down as we work to conserve water. Transforming a lawn to a drought-tolerant landscape with California native plants is easy, will save you money, and is good for the environment.

Check out how other California homeowners are upgrading their yards on the Save Our Water website.

Saving Water Saves Money

Replacing existing conventional water-using appliances, such as sprinkler nozzles and irrigation controllers, with high-efficiency systems can potentially earn you cash back from your local water district. Check with your local water district to see if they offer water conservation rebates. The California Water Efficiency Partnership’s Smart Rebates Save Water program also offers rebates to participating member agency customers on a variety of conservation products and appliances.