10% water use reduction: what does that mean?

Here in drought-reality California, we’re being told to reduce our water usage, voluntarily. I’m all for water conservation, but what does a 10% reduction look like?

My household of two uses 145 gallons per day*, so 10% means 14.5 gallons per day, which is equal to, daily:

  • 9 toilet flushes (at 1.6 gallons/flush)
  • 7 minute shower (at 2 gallons per minute–gpm–showerhead)
  • 5 minutes using the faucet without an aerator (at 2.8 gpm)

We could flush less (not OK with some household members), take shorter showers (we’re trying), and replace the aerator (the faucet piece is stuck!) But the biggest water hog is the yard. About 50% of household water usage (for homes with a yard, I assume) is for the yard/garden. I’m growing a veggie garden, so the water usage will definitely go up during the spring/summer. Here are steps I will take to make the most of water usage:

  • Monitor the front lawn watering. It’s on a timer now; I’ll check the condition of the lawn to see if it’s too much. I’ll also see if I can adjust the sprinkler to water less in the shade.
  • I notice water run-off onto the sidewalk and driveway. I need to adjust the heads. Hopefully I can follow this video and make an easy adjustment: adjusting a pop up sprinkler.
  • Set up the drip system for the veggies.

What can you do in your own yard to minimize water waste?

More resources: adjusting sprinkler system, tune up your irrigation system


* This is how I calculated my water usage in gallons, from my bill. I think most bills give you the CCF (100 cubic feet) unit.

  • Water usage on last bill = 6 CCF for 31 days
  • One CCF = 748.5 gallons
  • 6 CCF x 748.5 gallons = 4,491 gallons
  • 4,491 gallons / 31 days = 145 gallons/day
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