Save Water + Save Energy = Save Money

Did you know that 20% of the energy used in the State of California is used to move and treat water?

The San Onofre nuclear power plant has been shut down permanently. Photo Credit: Jason Hickey, Flickr Creative Commons

That more than just an interesting factoid. It actually has an impact our daily lives because energy is a kind of “hidden cost” in our water bills, so when you save water, you save energy and money.

Conservation is especially important this summer since the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant was shut down permanently due to unsafe conditions.  That means that in Southern California, we are entering our hot summer season with a less than normal power supply. Summer is the season we have the heaviest power use because it is the time we all crank up the A/C. To prevent rolling blackouts, energy companies are working with water agencies to reduce the amount of water used and to get the word out to customers about conservation.

How You Can $ave

A lush low-water garden. Photo Credit: M. Dolly, Flickr Creative Commons
A lush low-water garden. Photo Credit: M. Dolly, Flickr Creative Commons

Watering Outside

Chances are, between 50% and 70% of the water you buy goes to water your lawn and garden. While the most environmentally friendly thing to do is to replace turf grass with California Friendly plants, not everyone is quite ready to do that.

If you are ready rip out your lawn, the IE Garden Friendly website can help you pick out plants in a lush Mediterranean style – water conscious does not doom you to a yard full prickly cacti. Also, you can replace only parts of your lawn with California Friendly plants and leave the rest to appease the lawn-lover in your house.

If you love your lawn, there is still a lot you can do to save water. Many people unknowingly over-water their lawns. Dust off your sprinkler controller and take a look at the following things:

Lawns use a lot of water, which means small changes mean big savings. Photo credit: Gilberto Taccari, Flickr Creative Commons
Lawns use a lot of water, which means small changes mean big savings. Photo credit: Gilberto Taccari, Flickr Creative Commons
  • Set your sprinklers to water in the early morning – that way, less water is lost to evaporation. Also, doing so is better for your plants – watering during the day will cause water to stay on them while the sun beats down and actually harms the leaves.
  • Set your sprinklers to water for a few short intervals – this will allow your lawn to absorb water rather than having it run off into the street.
  • Cut back to two days a week – your lawn does not need to be watered every day, or even every other day. According to the Metropolitan Water District, watering two days a week instead of five can save 840 gallons of water a week!
  • Buy a Smart Irrigation Controller – it will receive local weather data and set your watering schedule accordingly.
  • Buy a WaterDex remote control for sprinklers – less expensive than a smart controller, it will work with your current sprinkler controller and let you set the limits from the comfort of your air conditioned living room.

Washing up outside

Photo Credit: Orin Zebest, Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Orin Zebest, Flickr Creative Commons
  • Use a broom – cleaning your deck, driveway and sidewalks with a hose instead of a broom can waste up to 150 gallons of water.
  • Go to a professional carwash rather than washing your car at home. Most of them reuse their water, which leaves your car just a sparkling clean without the same amount of waste.

Indoor Use

Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth! Photo Credit: RebeccaLeeP, Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: RebeccaLeeP, Flickr Creative Commons

While the bulk of our water is used outside, there is still a lot we can do inside.

  • Use your dishwasher rather than washing by hand – make sure it is full first!
  • Take shorter showers. Five minutes is the ideal, but if you can’t quite make it there, try to shave a couple of minutes off of what you are currently doing. Get faster as you go. Remember: every minute cut off a morning shower is one more minute you can sleep in!
  • Shut off the water when brushing your teeth and washing your face. According to MSN Living, you can save up to 8 gallons of water a day by making that one painless change.

Get Paid to Save

See if you are eligible for rebates from your water agency by checking out their website, or go to SoCal Water Smart for rebates offered by the Metropolitan Water District and its 26 member agencies.

Photo Credit: 401(k)2013, Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: 401(k)2013, Flickr Creative Commons

Spread the Word

Share your ideas with us! Have you found a creative way to save water? Let us know about it on our Facebook Page at or on Twitter @SoCalTapWater.