Across social media platforms, California has been dubbed the “LOL” state of the country, referring to our perpetually perfect weather, while the rest of the United States grapples with snow storms and Polar Vortexes. Our more-than-sunny disposition, however, is no laughing matter for the Golden State. (Although it’s difficult to avoid chuckling at hashtags like #SolarVortex in reference to our state’s uncharacteristic 70-degree weather this January).  2013 was the driest year on record in California, motivating Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a statewide drought emergency last week. And that means Californians are now being asked to voluntarily cut our water usage by 20%.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in California pulled together a few simple steps we can take, right now, to aid in the preservation of the precious and limited reserves we have during this time of crisis. Here are some indoor tips provided by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Family of Southern California Water Agencies:

1. Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes. Instituting this very simple policy of half-full-dishwashers-no-more can lead to water savings of up to 50 gallons per week. Makes sense.

2. Fix household leaks promptly. On average, homes across America can create water waste of up to 10,000 gallons a year due to dripping faucets, running toilets and other types of leaks. Many public water utility agencies offer free in-home analysis of leak detection and water-saving equipment, including low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators, as an initiative to help residents in water conservation efforts. Check with your local water authority for information and opportunities to become water-wise.

3. Spend only five minutes in the shower. This may be one of the easiest yet challenging methods of conserving our precious resource of water. That long, hot, steamy shower can cost you up to eight gallons! In addition to installing a low-flow showerhead, there is also help for trimming the length of a shower to five minutes-the shower timer! Many products are out there on the market to choose-from the very basic to more elaborately designed models, literally, with bells and whistles. No quarters necessary.

4. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Tick-tock-tick-tock-approximately 2.5 gallons per minute are circling the drain while you’re scrubbing your pearly whites. A matter of mindfulness and creating a new habit. They say that only takes 21 days-consider a note on the bathroom mirror until the practice “sinks in.”

5. Install the latest water-saving equipment, like high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers. There may be a rebate program in effect to offset the cost of purchase, so check with the public water authority in your area. It’s worth a look.

Got any other helpful water saving tips you’ve implemented at home?  Let us know in the comments below!