Water Conservation at Home
Kern County residents can do much to conserve water in their homes.
Here are some easy conservation tips:
- Turn off water when brushing your teeth.
- Don’t use the toilet as a trash can.
- Install a low-flow showerhead, then take only 5-minute showers or 3-inch baths.
- Replace your toilet with a water saving ultra-low flush model. This can save up to 14,000 gallons of water per year!
- Fix all leaky toilets, faucets and pipes.
- Flush toilets and use garbage disposals only when necessary.
- Turn off the water when shaving and lathering in the shower.
- Run only full loads in dishwashers and washing machines.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running it at the tap until it cools.
- Use a brush and a bowl full of water, instead of running water over fruits and vegetables.
- If buying a new washing machine, buy a front loading washer; these use 1/3 less water than top loaders.
- Don’t over water garden plants and the lawn. Deep soak garden once weekly rather than sprinkle lightly several times a week.
- Water evening or morning to prevent rapid evaporation during heat of day.
- Plant drought-resistant plants in the yard.
- When you wash your car…use a bucket of water.
- Use a nozzle on your hose which can be shut off or adjusted to a fine spray.
- Use a broom or rake rather than a hose to remove leaves and debris from driveway, walk, patio, and pool decks.
- Cover swimming pool to slow down evaporation of water from it.
- Use a car wash which recycles water, or wash car at home.
- Wash your car with bucket, sponge, and a hose with a shut-off valve.
- Target water to plants that show signs of moisture stress. Plants will turn a gray-green color or wilt when they need water.
- Water the root zone of the plant instead of the foliage. This saves water and reduces diseases..
- Water deeply. Light, frequent watering causes shallow rooting and increases the need for water.
- Use drip irrigation and micro-sprays when possible. They use 30 to 50 percent less water than sprinklers.
- In-ground system users should have a regular system audit performed by a professional who will inspect for leaks and other problems and recommend new water-saving equipment. Rain sensors, soil moisture sensors, evapotranspiration controllers and new efficient rotors and spray heads are examples of new technologies.
Put the “right” plants in the “right” places
- Select plants carefully. Read the plant tag, it tells you the amount of sunlight and water the plants needs as well as the recommended soil conditions.
- Plants that require partial shade do best on eastern exposures where they are shaded from the hot afternoon sun.Consider the slope and drainage patterns of the site. Plant moisture-loving plants at the base of slopes where they can take advantage of natural drainage.
- Group plants in the landscape according to their water need: high, medium or low. This will result in more efficient irrigation.
- Calculate your water footprint
- Home landscaping tips in this article from the Kern County-UC Cooperative Extension office
- Hundreds of water saving tips at Save Our Water
- Sunset Magazine’s plant finder, a guide for gardeners who want to be water efficient
- 100 ways to conserve – a website dedicated to water conservation
- How to Conserve Water in the Bathroom – a home improvement site with great water saving tips
Agriculture Water Conservation
Kern County farmers, like others in California, use efficient and conservation-focused irrigation practices whenever possible. Because farm water is a high cost for farmers, they utilize every drop of water so that none is wasted.
Some of the ways farmers conserve water is to use drip and micro-sprinkler irrigation systems which concentrate water directly where it is needed for the crop. Crop land is also laser-leveled so that there are no low spots in the field where water can puddle. Many irrigation systems are also automated so that a precise amount of water is applied, and increasingly, farmers are installing solar equipment to power irrigation systems.