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April 06, 2015

Saving water room-by-room

Tips for reducing water use in your home

In an effort to combat a devastating multiyear drought, California Governor Jerry Brown ordered residents and businesses on Wednesday to cut water use by 25 percent in the first mandatory statewide reduction in California's history. 

But a drought or state mandate shouldn't be the only reason to conserve water.

Water conservation can save energy, money and the environment. So even though you may not feel as inclined after all of the snow and ice we got this winter, making a conscious effort to save water would be beneficial.

The New York Times asked its California readers to share some ways they are living with less water.

I've cut my shower time in half by not using very hot water — gets me in and out a lot quicker than my favorite scalding hot showers. I collect the water from the shower as its warming up in a bucket to use to water my plants or wash down my car a bit,” Kathryn Yue of Sacramento told the Times.

Here are some other water-saving tips you can use throughout your home.

1. In the kitchen

The kitchen sink is like the bathtub for your fruits, veggies and silverware. It's easy to leave the water running while you wash dishes or ingredients for your dinner. Instead, try using the tap less. Rinse fruits and vegetables in a pot and then use that same pot to water your plants. 

Consider purchasing an aerator for your faucet. It can limit the flow of water. Also, using less dish soap can reduce the amount of water you use when rinsing.

2. In the bathroom

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the toilet alone accounts for almost 30 percent of indoor water usage. Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons per minute and require energy to heat water.

Replacing just one showerhead can save the average family 2,900 gallons of water, the amount of electricity needed to power its home for 13 days, and more than $70 in utility bills.

You can save more than 200 gallons of water per month just by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving, the EPA says.

3. In the laundry room

A high-efficiency washing machine can save a significant amount of water. While traditional models use between 27 and 54 gallons of water per load, newer models use less than 27 gallons per load.

You can also try using natural products to treat stains instead of solutions that require pre-soaking.

See more tips from the EPA.