Drought conditions have been plaguing our California neighbors for the last two years. The governor has asked people to reduce their water consumption by 20%. With how much rain we get in this region, the California drought may feel far away, but did you know that Oregon is experiencing drought conditions in more than half the state? The Willamette Valley is currently listed as “Abnormally Dry” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Focusing on water conservation and developing good household water use habits BEFORE more severe drought conditions occur is smart, money saving, and earth saving. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Water Conservation For Drought Conditions
- Wash your veggies and fruits in a bucket instead of under running water. Then, use the water leftover in your bucket to water your plants and garden.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator. It will always be cold, and that way you aren’t standing by the running tap waiting for the water to cool. Conversely, standing around waiting for the water to get hot is a huge waste, also. Capture the water for other uses, such as cleaning, or heat water up on the stove.
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator or a microwave instead of running it under cold water.
- Find a cup filled with old water in another room? Use it! A houseplant would be happy to drink it for you.
- Your dishwasher is a big water user in the kitchen. Only run it when you have a full load.
- Overwatering wastes a huge amount of water. In the summer, your lawn only needs to be watered once or twice a week.
- Please, don’t water the sidewalk or your driveway. Make sure the water you’re using hits its mark.
- Dirty car? Run it through a car wash. They recycle their water.
- If you want to wash your car yourself, park it on the grass so your lawn gets the runoff.
- Time your watering: watering when the temperatures are cooler – early in the morning or later in the evening – reduces evaporation. Your water goes a long way.
- Time to put away your power washer for the time being. Use a broom!
Bathroom and Laundry
- Time your showers. You CAN get clean in five minutes, especially if you turn it off to manage such tasks as shaving and lathering up your hair. Turn it back on to rinse.
- You can capture your shower water for other uses, too! Place a bucket in your shower to capture the water that would normally go down the drain and use it for your yard watering needs.
- Leaving the water running while you brush your teeth is a huge waste. Fill a cup and use that water for rinsing.
- Displace the water in your toilet tank with a container filled with water and a weight, such as pea gravel or sand. This can save half a gallon per flush. Here’s a quick tutorial: Toilet Tank Water Displacement.
- You probably have a waste basket – use that instead of the toilet.
- Do your laundry in cold water.
- Only wash clothes when you have a full load.
More You Can Do
We’ve touched on a few things that you can do during drought conditions and beyond that don’t cost you anything. Check out a low-cost, DIY plumbing ideas that can save even more water:
Drought conditions or no, saving water is the right thing to do. Hopefully these ideas will get you headed in the right direction to reduce your home water usage and help keep Oregon green!