California, it’s time to walk the walk


You call yourself a healthy state, so stop the yo-yo dieting!

We like to think of ourselves as the healthiest people in the nation. We are the state that made it cool not to smoke, be vegan, and vogue to juice.

After nearly six years of doing the right thing, we must not go back to the yo-yo dieting of the ’70s, ’90s or the early 2000’s. Just because the famine is over, doesn’t mean we should feast our way back into a bad situation. It is not the time to splurge!

We get it, you are tired of hearing about it!

You are tired of hearing about it — we get it! Conserve, conserve more, conserve harder. You silently scream, “It rained, and I conserved and conserved. There is no more I can conserve!”

The bad news is — the drought will likely be a way of life for all Californians, maybe not today but next year is a possibility. It is time to focus on long-term, permanent, lifestyle and building changes.

You like potato, and I like potahto

Now that we have some breathing space, we need to redirect our focus to water efficiency. How is that different from conservation? While “water conservation” and “water efficiency” may seem like transposable phases, the two have very different meanings. Conservation emphasizes restricting use, while water efficiency works by reducing waste.

Be smarter with less water

Choose more water efficient products with new and improved technologies when doing home improvement projects, commercial upgrades, or building a new home or office.

Saving water inside

A full-sized Energy Star certified clothes washer uses 13 gallons of water per load, compared to the 23 gallons used by a standard machine. That’s a savings of more than 3,000 gallons of water each year!

A dishwasher built before 1994 wastes more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. A new, Energy Star certified dishwasher will save, on average, 1,600 gallons of water over its lifetime.

Saving water outside

Replacing a standard sprinkler system clock timer with a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller can save an average home nearly 8,800 gallons of water annually.

Planting drought-resistant trees and plants saves 30 to 60 gallons per 100 square feet each time you water.

Install a pool cover and not just in the cooler months. A typical backyard pool can lose about 20,000 gallons yearly due to evaporation. For larger pools, consider a portable, roller-type device that can mechanically retract and store the cover while you’re swimming.

Install a rainwater catchment system — if a single rain storm drops 1 inch of rain on your yard, you have just watched the equivalent of over 250 bathtubs full of water trickle right by you!

Saving water with home remodeling or when buying or building a new home

If you’re planning to purchase a brand new home or build one, look for homebuilders with a green reputation.

The U.S. EPA’s Energy Star website lists homebuilders who meet Energy Star guidelines for energy efficiency.

Try contacting local green building organizations or your local chapter of the Home Builders Association (HBA), a trade association for home builders and remodelers.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has been a leader in the green building movement. Their LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most prominent and well-known of the green building programs.

These are just a few of the ways we can be more water efficient. We need to put the years of yo-yo dieting behind us. We can’t conserve during the drought and then splurge on longer showers and green lawns. This drought was long, not the longest in California’s history, but it was the most severe drought in recorded history. It’s time to be smarter with our water.

To learn more about water efficiency visit http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/, https://www.epa.gov/watersense/watersense-products, www.saveourwater.com, www.scwd.org.

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