Long-term conservation is a good way to stretch available water supplies. Urban residents are putting into practice the steps of taking shorter showers, using low-flow showerheads and turning off the tap while brushing their teeth. California farmers are using a variety of conservation efforts, including controlled sprinkler systems and drip irrigation for watering, along with laser land-leveling, which helps to achieve uniform water distribution. Businesses, homes, fish and wildlife all need water; therefore, conservation measures must be implemented to maximize the water we have available.

Simple actions, such as watering lawns in the morning or evening and taking shorter showers, can add up to water savings. However, these efforts alone are not enough to offset the collective impacts affecting water supplies. The state has an unbalanced distribution of precipitation. That means the northern part of the state receives much more rain and snow than the southern portion. California must have a comprehensive water plan that includes construction of facilities to deliver water through or around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the construction of new water storage facilities.

Outdoor Tips for Saving Water

In the Garden

  • Avoid overwatering garden plants and lawns.
  • For best results, try to water in the morning when evaporation is at a minimum.
  • Use drought-resistant trees and plants when replacing existing landscaping.
  • Water plants only when needed.
  • Adjust automatic timers around the seasons, and don’t use sprinklers on windy days or within two days of rainfall.
  • Consider a water-saving drip irrigation system that provides a slow, steady supply of water to the garden.
  • Cover pools and spas to reduce evaporation.
  • Routinely check for broken, leaking or clogged sprinklers.


  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways with a broom.
  • When washing a car, use a bucket of water. Use a hose with a nozzle attachment only when rinsing.
  • Repair dripping faucets. As much as 15 gallons of water each day can be wasted by one small leak.

Indoor Tips for Saving Water

In the Bathroom

  • Install an ultra low-flow toilet.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket.
  • Install a low-flow shower head and take shorter showers.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and shaving.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks.

In the Kitchen

  • Use a dishwasher for full loads only.
  • When cleaning produce, use a brush and a bowl full of water.
  • When washing dishes by hand, fill the wash and rinse basins with water instead of running water continuously.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks.

Cleaning/Household Chores

  • Use a pail or basin instead of running water.
  • When doing laundry, use the load selector to match the water level to the size of the load, or wash only full loads.
  • If considering buying a new washing machine, purchase a front-loading washer, which uses 1/3 less water than a top-loading washer.
  • When cleaning grills and oven parts, presoak overnight.