We talk a lot about switching to solar and making sure you’ve got a handle on your energy needs, but what’s happening with your water? California is in a drought that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon, so how can you be more water smart?

There’s no two ways about it – we need to use less water! And many of us who have grown up in California remember experiencing previous droughts, so it comes more natural to us to think about conserving (you remember the rhyme: If it’s yellow, let it mellow…)

A few ideas to help conserve water:

  • Less baths, more quick showers (and if you do decide on a bath, make sure you reclaim your gray water afterwards and use it to water your plants!)
  • Only run your washing machine or dishwasher with full loads. It’s also good to note that hand washing clothes can also cut back on water used, while hand washing dishes can actually use more water than a newer dishwasher will.
  • Replace your toilet with a low-flow version, or there are some clever ways to make sure your current toilet isn’t leaking and to reduce your toilet’s water consumption: how to install a toilet tank dam.
  • Don’t leave the water running when you’re brushing your teeth – you really only need it on for a sec to wet your toothbrush and then to rinse at the end.


Homesteading or growing your own fruits and vegetables has become more popular over the past few years for those wanting a more sustainable and natural way of life. Nothing like eating the fruits of your labor! But when it comes to watering plants, there are some good guidelines to keep in mind as well:

  • Water early in the morning to minimize evaporation. You may even install a drip irrigation system around certain trees and shrubs.
  • Adjust your sprinkler schedule to run only when necessary. Make sure your sprinkler heads are facing the right direction so that you don’t accidentally end up watering the sidewalk instead of your plants!
  • Collect water in a rain barrel to use for watering your lawn and plants.
  • Consider replacing your lawn with drought-tolerant native plants. There are some gorgeous plants out there that don’t need to rely on a lot of water that will still make your yard look colorful and healthy.
  • Check your water hose(s) periodically to make sure there aren’t any leaks. And shut off nozzles are also a great preventative in case you do get a leak.

Got any of your own tips & tricks for being water smart? We’d love to hear them – please leave a comment below!



California Gardens Drought Tolerant

A California-Friendly Guide to Native and Drought Tolerant Gardens

Drought tolerant plants for a Bay Area/Northern California coastal garden