Do you see how your grass is gradually cracking and drying out? Do you put buckets under your faucet to collect every drop of water left behind? Trying not to sweat because you cut your showers down to twice a week?
These are just a few of the ideas LA Times readers sent us when we asked them how they were saving water. That’s an urgent question as Southern California water authorities have announced new restrictions to deal with drought and dwindling water supplies.
And while many readers suggested making major lifestyle changes, others offered new twists on common sense advice or familiar ideas that reduce the amount of water flowing into the sewer.
More than one person argued that although individual water savings are valuable, they are not enough, arguing that policymakers should do more. For example, Christiane Badgley of Long Beach wrote, “We need a big change. The LA Times recently wrote about Israel’s water reuse and cutting-edge drip irrigation: That’s the way California has to go. It’s driving farms with alfalfa and large volumes of water.” We need to raise the price of water enough to discourage growing other crops that require it.”
This is complex. Agriculture is an important part of California’s economy, and crops like alfalfa, rice, and almonds are like any other food we eat: it takes a lot of water to produce. Agriculture is by far the largest water consumer in California. Kelly Sanders, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC, told the Times last year that about 80% of the water used in the state goes to agriculture. The rest goes to urban use,” he said.
What is all too clear, however, is that Southern California doesn’t have ample water, and probably won’t for a while.
Many readers save every drop they can by showering and bathing.
– Collects shower water in a bucket while it heats up. Use outside on plants.
-Limit shower time. Some people recommend five minutes or less: “I don’t always understand, but I try,” wrote Amy Wolfberg of Los Angeles.
-Open and close. Richard Tapia of Palmdale explains: “I open and close the lid. [agua] during my shower; I get wet, then turn off the water, soap up, and then rinse.” Kate Larson of San Diego says her family “installs a hand shower with a shutoff valve that lets you turn off the water when you don’t need it while showering.”
-Install efficient showerheads: Los Angeles Department of Water and Energy customers can get free showerheads that the company says saves up to a gallon per minute, which can save more than 5,000 gallons a year.
Dishwasher (and other stuff)
Whether it’s a dishwasher or a hand wash, readers get creative with saving or reusing the water that cleans the dishes.
Only run the dishwasher when it is full.
-Do not rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. This advice from readers may seem contradictory, but it is true. The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports, Popular Science, and Lifehacker and others agree. For details on detergent and care, refer to your device’s user manual.
Do not leave the tap on while washing dishes by hand. Use the two-sink method, or at least turn off the tap when you’re not rinsing.
Doing laundry isn’t anyone’s favorite job
Wash less often. And because you hate to wash anyway, make sure you have a full load before running the washing machine.
Also, wash clothes less often. Nikki Martin of Davis suggests wearing more clothes, especially jeans, between washes. But make sure they pass the visual and olfactory test first.
The grass is gone. Readers say it’s time to stop watering, uproot the grass and replace it with Californian drought-tolerant plants.
“We moved into our house a year and a half ago and haven’t watered our lawn since we moved in,” wrote Rachel Paterno-Mahler of West LA. “We’re about to redecorate our yard with drought-tolerant plants. My advice is to stop watering the lawn. There will be less stagnant water, so mosquitoes can be removed, too. Seriously, stop watering the lawn.”
“Last spring we bought our house, removed the grass, and took a class at the Theodore Payne Foundation to learn how to water a California native garden efficiently,” wrote Sarah Lariviere of Burbank. “In the fall, we plant mostly native plants alongside fruit trees and drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants, and plant a ton of native wildflower seeds just before the big October rain. Spring was fantastic – tons of flowers, bees and birds. Neighbors stop by to tell us how much they love the garden. We got an all-in-one discount from the SoCal WaterSmart lawn replacement program. And we don’t have to mow the lawn again.”
“Right now I’m taking care of my mom’s house: I don’t water the lawn at all. He died,” Badgley of Long Beach wrote. “Some neighbors commented. Oh well. The garden is well watered once a week. Dead plants are not suitable for this climate.”
If you are maintaining your lawn, consider watering less frequently or more efficiently, such as drip irrigation rather than sprinklers. You can also consider a gray water system for your trees and shrubs.
Use a deep watering technique for the plants you keep. Jason Kinsella of Eagle Rock tells us how he did it: “When watering (trees, orchard, etc.), I use buckets with a small hole in the bottom for slow, deep watering. This way I use much less water and train the plants to root deeply. , which allows them to overcome the hot and dry summer.”
Yes, let’s talk about toilets
Wash only when necessary. One La Cañada Flintridge reader found a few colorful ways for readers to remember this: “If it’s yellow, let it soften” – but noted that you should abandon this practice while waiting for guests. And: “If it’s pee, leave it there. If it’s poop, you better wash the chain.” Thanks for the tip, Pete Navarro of El Sereno.
-Replaces very old toilets. Modern toilets consume less than two gallons per flush.
Dirty cars due to drought
Do not wash your car. “I haven’t washed my car in a long time,” wrote Jeremy Windle of San Pedro.
Try the car wash product with little water. Only one reader gave this advice. I had never heard of it, but a little research on the internet led me to find a few products. For example, the Drainbo Extreme Water-Saving Car Wash claims you can clean your car with just 16 ounces of water. If you try one of these products, let us know how it went.
Every drop counts
Check for leaks. This is really important because a leak can waste many gallons of water a day.
Reuse cat and dog water. Water houseplants whenever you change the water in pet food.
Didn’t you finish your glass of water? Give a nearby plant a small drink.
“Less water, more Chardonnay”. That’s what Dave Ross of Orange says.
change of mind
Kinsella of Eagle Rock offered his point of view: Southern Californians “have to think about summer as people in colder climates think about winter. It’s when native plants come to rest. No watering or gardening. You have to let the garden rest. It will come back to life with the first rain.”
To keep you motivated, Lisette Palley of Culver City wants us to be more conscious of the water we use. “Remember photos of the scorched earth to remind yourself why you’re practicing new habits,” she wrote. “Imagine what it would have been like if the tap didn’t come out when you turned on the faucet.”
Finally, Van Nuys’ Barbara Siegman says we shouldn’t be too upset: “We’re still lucky to live here.”
To read this note in English Click here
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