On Tuesday, July 15, the California State Water Resources Control Board voted on a new measure that will allow police officers to fine wasteful water guzzlers. Starting Aug. 1, $500 tickets will be given to residents who are seen wasting water by washing their cars without a nozzle on the hose, over watering their lawns to the point where runoff flows into the street and watering down sidewalks and driveways with a hose.
This new change comes at a result of a three-year drought the state has been facing. According to the water control officials, 80 percent of California is going through “exceptional drought conditions” where almost 50 communities are very close to running out of water.
Yeah, that's not good.
Here in Los Angeles, with close to four million people, not having access to water would be a disaster. As a college student, you may not have a house with a lawn or even a car to worry about, but there are some steps you can make to help out California and reduce the amount of water you use everyday.
1. Take Shorter Showers, and Don’t Run the Water as Much
Some of you are thinking that this is suggestion is crazy. Take shorter showers?! But, limiting your time in the shower really isn’t that bad. If you usually wash your hair and shave with the water running, you can save a lot of water by turning off the water until you really need it. That means only running the water when you need to rinse your hair and body off.
And if you take baths often, you should really think about switching to showers. It usually takes up to 70 gallons to fill up a bathtub. Talk about wasteful!
2. Opt for an Electric Razor, Wax or Other Forms of Hair Removal
Since traditional shaving with a razor involves using water, switch to an electric razor that doesn't require H2O. Or, try an at-home wax kit, going to the salon or threading.
If you insist on using a traditional razor, then do this: instead of having the water run as you're shaving, collect the water in a little bowl to rinse your razor and wipe off the shaving cream on your body
3. Shower with a "Buddy"
Ok, so maybe don't shower with your best friend or roommate, but if you have a significant other and you guys are comfortable being naked in front of each other, why not shower with them? It saves water, after all.
4. Use Less Dishes, More Red Solo Cups
Limiting the number of dishes you use every day really reduces the amount of water you use in the kitchen. By sticking to one cup throughout the day or just refilling up the same water bottle, you’ll save water by having fewer dishes to wash. Also, think about investing in plasticware such as red solo cups.
5. Utilize the Same Dish at the Dining Hall
Don’t have a kitchen? You can even help your dining hall limit the amount of water they use to clean your dishes. Try to reuse the same plate, cup and utensils while you’re there. By using the same fork to eat your dinner and your dessert, you’re helping out the environment.
6. Prevent Faucets from Leaking
Did you know that thousands of gallons of water are wasted every year because of leaky faucets? According to a study by IBM, a faucet that drips every second wastes 27,000 gallons of water annually. By turning the sink or shower handles tightly, you can make sure that clean water doesn’t go down the drain.
If you notice any leaky faucets and shower heads around campus or in your home, report it to your dorm or apartment's maintenance crew. By speaking up, you’ll not only save your school from a hefty water bill, but you’ll also conserve more water.
7. Don’t Order Water if You’re Not Going to Drink it
We’ve all been to restaurants and ordered glasses of water that we didn’t even finish. If you want water, only order what you’re actually going to drink. And, if the waiter tries to fill up your glass with water already in it, tell them no. Only ask for more water when you’re cup is empty and if you’re going to finish it. You wouldn’t want more perfectly clean water to go to waste.
8. Only Do Laundry When Needed
According to National Geographic, 22 percent of indoor water use is due to the amount of water used in laundry. It takes between 20 to 40 gallons of water for every load in the washer machine. So, really make an effort to only wash your clothes when you really need to. That’s not to say that you should walk around everyday in dirty and smelly clothing, but try to be conscious of what you put in your hamper every day. A lot of clothing items, like jeans and some shirts, can be worn multiple times before they need a washing.
But please, DO wash your sheets more than just once a year.
And, if you can, make sure you adjust the settings on the machine to the amount of clothing you have inside of it. If you don’t have a machine with adjustable settings, try to wash when you have enough clothes for a full load. Not only will you save money on your laundry card, you’ll save water.
Lastly, if your school has a laundry room with high-efficiency washers, make an attempt to use those machines more. They save almost 20 more gallons of water than older machines.
9. Remind Others to Conserve
From joining a club that focuses on the environment to telling your roommates to turn off the faucet when they brush their teeth, you can help save even more water by reminding those around you to think about reducing their water usage. You can create a pact with your friends to save more water, or just put signs around campus. Whatever you decide, remember that your effort may help conserve gallons and gallons of water each day.