On Jan. 17, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency, and many cities, ours included, have asked residents to voluntarily cut back on their water use by 20 percent.
You can imagine the frustration some residents feel when they see water spilling out of neighborhood yards into the gutter. Some have posted pictures of this on social media sites.
Just how easy is it to cut back 20 percent of your water use? I’ve heard people suggest taking a five-minute shower. Other recommendations include replacing your toilet or old appliances with water-saving ones — which is great if you have the money to invest. I know many suggestion sites mean well, but if the goal seems unattainable, people might feel defeated and just not try.
Here are a few unofficial water-saving tips that work in my home and are easy to incorporate into your daily routine:
• Take a few moments to fix links within the home and even your garden hose out back. Fix broken sprinklers.
• Don’t hose off your car every time it gets a little dusty. To make your car washes go further, try washing your windows in between car washes. Clean windows are good to see out of and can help give the appearance of a cleaner car.
• When it comes to appliances that use water, only run a full load.
• Automatic sprinklers can be custom set with times; you can easily cut back 20 percent of watering your lawn by using the timer.
• When planting new trees, also plant a PVC pipe, open at both ends, to send water directly to the roots. This will help save water by not soaking the ground to get to the roots. Please note, young trees will still need to be soaked until their roots develop.
• Doggie bath time? Use water to hose animals down outside, then turn the water off to soap up and turn it on again to rinse off.
• You can use your leftover water from cooking to water your plants, after it has cooled and provided that spices and such haven’t been added.
• Use a timer when taking your shower, and work on cutting back your time by 20 percent.
• While brushing your teeth, turn off the water until it’s needed.
• Rinse off fruits and vegetables and such in a bowl of water, instead of just letting the tap water run over them and down the drain.
The city has also published a list of conservation tips on its website.
• Anne Marie Fuller, National Mrs. Beauties of the Nation, is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at email@example.com.