Effective tips to help conserve water during California drought emergency

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Recently the California drought  has been making national headlines and is something we have been dealing with locally.

Residents in many parts of the state are being asked and sometimes ordered to scale back their water use.

Right now, Bakersfield residents are only being asked to conserve water on a voluntary basis.

In the early 1990's, many water districts in the county used water cops to give people notices if they wasted water.

People were told they could only water their lawns on specific days.

Some residents say back in 1977 we were under mandatory water restrictions and even faced fines for wasting water.

The California Water Service Company will be sending out conservation tips to their customers next month.

"This year we're good with the water, it's serious but we don't want to go to critical,"said Rudy Valles of California Water Service.

Valles says Kern County has been fortunate to have many water sources including groundwater and surface water, but the dry conditions have begun to eliminate the surface water.

"We do not want to deplete our ground water source," Valles said, "When we pull more ground water from our wells, it takes away from the aquifer." 

The water agency wants more people to start thinking now about water conservation before it becomes critical.

Water experts say everybody can do their part when it comes to water conservation. This includes everything from brushing our teeth to watering our lawn.

The water from a faucet typically flows at a rate of 3 gallons per minute. It is recommended that we brush our teeth for at least 2 minutes twice per day. This means that you will waste 24 gallons of water every day by leaving the water on while brushing your teeth.

The Department of Water and Power has provided the following tips for water conservation.

1. Use only as much water on your lawn as you need to. Studies show that the average homeowner uses more than four times the actual amount of water needed to keep a lawn healthy and green – wasted water that runs off of property and into storm drains. Use the watering calculator and watering index found at www.bewaterwise.com to learn just how much you should water. Saves 750 to 1,500 gallons a month.

2. Fix leaky faucets, plumbing joints and your sprinkler system. Saves 20 gallons a day for every leak stopped.

3. Replace your showerhead with a new high efficiency showerhead; install water saving faucet aerators in your bathroom and kitchen.

4. Install a new “smart” sprinkler controller that applies just the right amount of water for your landscape based on your plants and garden, and local weather conditions. In one study, these new controllers were shown to save 40 gallons per day.

5. Replace a portion of your lawn with beautiful native and California Friendly plants. Saves 1,000 to 1,800 gallons a month depending on your climate.

6. Replace your old washing machine with a new, high-efficiency model. Saves 20 to 30 gallons per load.

7. Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Saves 300 to 800 gallons a month.

8. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. Saves 150 gallons or more each time.

9. Shorten your showers. Every minute of your shower uses 2.5 gallons of water. So, a one or two minute reduction can save up to 375 gallons per month.

10. Don’t water the sidewalks, driveway or gutter. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands on your lawn or garden where it belongs–and only there. Saves 500 gallons a month.

11. Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Saves up to 200 gallons a month.

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