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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Don’t Be a Drip: Save Water

Jul 12, 2015 12:00AM

Leaves are turning brown and creeks are running dry. California is enduring an official drought and teaching kids to save water is essential. Have fun figuring out your family’s water footprint. Then get to work implementing the following steps for reducing the amount of gallons you use.

  • Wash the bike or the car using a hose nozzle; turn off the water in between washing and rinsing. Better yet, ditch the hose altogether and wash with a sponge and a bucket of soapy water. If your family uses a car wash, choose one that recycles water.
  • Take showers not baths. If you keep showers under five minutes, you’ll save up to 1,000 gallons a month. You can even make a game out of timing yourself and the kids, challenging everyone to beat their own records.
  • Turn off water while shampooing hair and brushing teeth.
  • When waiting for running water to get hot, place a bucket under the faucet and pour what you catch on houseplants or use it in the garden.
  • When it’s time to clean out your fish tank, give your plants the nutrient-rich tank water.
  • Water outdoor plants in the morning or evening, when it’s cool enough for them to absorb moisture before it evaporates. Also, be careful not to overwater; a little goes a long way.
  • Enlist the kids to help test the toilet for leaks. Let them place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color appears in the toilet without flushing, you’ve got a leak, which can waste 200 gallons a day.
  • Teach kids to turn off the faucet tightly after each use.
  • Avoid using recreational water toys, especially those that require a steady stream of water.
  • Wash pets on the lawn, where excess water can feed the grass.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean paved surfaces like sidewalks and driveways.

For more water-saving tips, see and