Water saving tips

Persistent droughts affecting western states makes water conservation important, but reducing water use also saves energy. More than 19 percent of the energy used in California goes to water-related activities, including treating, pumping, and delivering water to your home, treating wastewater or heating the water for your shower.

By brushing up on your water-saving tips and spreading the word to your friends and family, you can help California conserve water and electricity. Visit Save Our Water or contact your water utility for more tips.

In the home

Laundry room

  • Wash only full loads of laundry.
  • Install a water- and energy-efficient clothes washer.
  • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.


  • Run the dishwasher only when it is full.
  • Install a water- and energy-efficient dishwasher.
  • Install aerators on the kitchen faucet to reduce flows.
  • When washing dishes by hand, do not let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.


  • Install low-flow showerheads.
  • Take five-minute showers.
  • Fill the bathtub halfway or less.
  • Turn water off when brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Install a high-efficiency toilet.
  • Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket.



  • Water plants early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently, and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs, and flowers.
  • Water deeply, but less frequently, to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool. Organic mulch also improves the soil and prevents weeds.
  • Plant drought-resistant trees and plants.
  • Contact your water utility to see if they offer rebates to replace your lawn with drought tolerant landscaping. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes people make. Try this easy watering calculator to help determine how much you should be watering outside. 
  • If you really want to be a sophisticated water user, invest in a weather-based irrigation controller—or a smart controller. These devices will automatically adjust the watering time and frequency based on soil moisture, rain, wind, and evaporation and transpiration rates. Contact your water utility to see if they offer rebates for a smart controller
    • Check to see if your water utility offers free on-site water-use assessments to identify potential leaks, and other ways to save water around your home.


  • Instead of using water, use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios.
  • Wash cars/boats with a bucket, sponge, and hose with self-closing nozzle.
  • If you have to use water to clean outside, consider getting a water broom that attaches to your hose but uses a combination of air and water pressure to clean.