When Governor Brown declared a statewide drought emergency and issued the executive order asking Californians to reduce their water consumption by 25 percent, this was in response to California being in its fourth year of a drought and the continued challenge to meet the water needs in this year and well beyond.

The past two years are cited as being the driest in recorded history for much of California. Water conservation continues to be at the forefront of the to-d0-better list for all Californians.

With summer fast approaching and no rain in sight, we were inspired by the people at Save Our Water to share a comprehensive list of how to conserve water this summer, both on the inside and outside of our homes.

We all need to keep doing our part. Let’s start in the kitchen!


  • Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.
  • If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
  • Install aerators on the kitchen faucet to reduce flows to less than 1 gallon per minute.
  • Cook food in as little water as possible. Added bonus of retaining more nutrients.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Run the dishwasher only when full to save water and energy.
  • Install a water- and energy-efficient dishwasher. Save 3 to 8 Gallons/load.
  • Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand.
  • If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.


  • Install a high-efficiency toilet. Save 19 gallons per person/day.
  • Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year.
  • Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
  • Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
  • Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor. Save up to 300 gallons a month.
  • When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  • Take shorter showers. If your showerhead uses 2.5 gpm (standard in the U.S.), then you can save 2.5 gallons of water for every minute you reduce your showering. Shower timers are available if you need a reminder.
  • Turn off the water while washing your hair. Save up to 150 gallons a month.
  • Consider placing a bucket or plastic basin in the shower with you to collect excess water. This water can then be used to water plants outdoors.
  • Use the washing machine for full loads only to save water and energy.
  • Install a water-efficient clothes washer. Save 16 gallons/load.


  • Invest in a water broom which attaches to your hose but uses a combination of air and water pressure to aid cleaning. Water brooms can use as little as 2.8 gallons per minute (gpm) to remove dirt, food spills, leaves, and litter from concrete and asphalt while a standard hose typically uses 5 to 20 gpm.
  • Water deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
  • Don’t overwater – learn more about evapotranspiration (ET) to understand how much water your landscaping really needs. Southern California residents can use this easy watering calculator.
  • Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs, and flowers. Remember to turn it off when it rains. Save 15 gallons/each time you water.
  • Water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Save 25 gallons/each time you water.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street. Visit Sprinklers 101. Save 12-15 gallons/each time you water.
  • Use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios. Save 8-18 gallons/minute
  • Wash cars/boats with a bucket, sponge, and hose with self-closing nozzle. Save 8-18 gallons/minute.
  • Plant drought-resistant trees and plants. Save 30- 60 gallons/each time you water/1,000 sq. ft.
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool. Organic mulch also improves the soil and prevents weeds from growing. Save 20-30 gallons/each time you water/1,000 sq. ft.

For more information on what you should know, what you can do and what’s new in water conservation and the drought in California, check out our ‘California Lifestyle’ friends at SaveOurWater.com!

Illustrations courtesy of SaveOurWater.com