Dealing with Drought in December

Many people are thinking about the holidays this time of year and not necessarily about drought, but this year is different.  As of this writing, much of our watershed is still in moderate to severe drought (see map below), as evidenced by the US Drought Monitor map released on Dec. 1, 2016.

Take these actions to help conserve water:


  • Take shorter showers. The average 10 minute shower uses 20 gallons of water.  Use a kitchen timer if you need a prompt.
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth/shaving/washing dishes. Not hard to do…
  • Use a dishwasher rather than washing dishes by hand. Dishwashers tend to be more efficient than handwashing, using anywhere from 5-8 gallons to wash a full load.  Prior to loading dirty dishes, scrape food off instead of rinsing.
  • Only wash full loads of laundry. If feasible, upgrade to a high efficiency (HE) clothes washer.  Older top-loading models can use 40 gallons of water for a full load, while an HE washer might use anywhere from 15-18 gallons.
  • Install water efficient, WaterSense labeled showerheads, faucets and toilets.  Water efficient appliances are designed for maximum flow, using less water.
  • Fix leaks.  All of those drips add up to a lot of wasted water!  Don’t ignore leaky faucets, drippy shower heads, and running toilets (the ones that continue to run water long after you flush).

Check with your local water department to see if they offer rebates before purchasing high efficiency toilets or clothes washers.  Terms and conditions may apply.





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