Every drops counts

Rainfall reports from the state Department of Water Resources aren’t pretty for 2007. Southern California experienced one of its driest years on record, and the watersheds of Central and Northern California fell below average.

Unfortunately, with a dry spring, 2008 isn’t looking much better. In fact, just last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed the worries, declaring a statewide drought. Now, more than ever, Californians need to practice conservation. The good news? There are many easy ways to cut down on water use, and most of them are free. Here are 10 tips for your household:

• Save an average of 20 gallons by taking a short shower rather than a bath.

• Fix leaky faucets, pipes and toilets, which can waste more than a hundred gallons a day.

• Don’t defrost frozen food by running water over it. Use the refrigerator or microwave instead.

• Rinsing veggies and fruit? Catch the water and re-use it for plants.

• Instead of using the garbage disposal, compost your organic food waste. Throw the remaining scraps in the trash.

• Since most dishwashers can handle stuck-on food, try cutting down on your pre-load rinsing.

• Do laundry only when you have enough dirty clothes for a full load (or adjust the water level).

• Don’t flush trash such as facial tissue down the toilet. Use the garbage can.

Fill a container with water and keep it in the refrigerator. This avoids running tap water until it cools.

• Turn the faucet off when it’s not in use, including while you’re brushing your teeth.

Check back next week for outdoor water-saving tips.

Sources: The International Arid Lands Consortium and www.watersupplyconditions.water.ca.gov