SANTA BARBARA HOMEOWNERS HAVE CHOICES WHEN IT COMES TO CONSERVING THIS PRECIOUS RESOURCE
The California drought officially entered its fourth consecutive year in 2021. In Santa Barbara County, things are so bad that July was the driest month we’ve experienced over the past 127 years. This severe water shortage affects 100% of the population here—that’s a total of 423,895 people in Santa Barbara County affected by drought. And the future doesn’t look good when it comes to this precious resource. With those things in mind, I offer a few simple ways to conserve water.
“We’re going into next year with the reservoirs extremely low,” said Don Cameron, chair of the California Board of Agriculture. “We pray that we get a big snowpack, and we get it early in the season. If we don’t, things are really going to get extremely difficult. You’re gonna see a lot of crops not being planted.”
Experts warn that our warming climate coupled with more intense El Niño and La Niña events could cause twice as many droughts and three times as many floods in California in the coming years. Making matters worse is the California fire season, which began earlier than usual this year. Currently, a total of 6,959 fires have been recorded, burning 1,830,307 acres across the state. In terms of the number of fires burned, the 2021 season is outpacing the 2020 season, which itself was the largest season in the state’s recorded history. As of July 11, more than three times as many acres burned compared to the previous year.
All that adds up to make water-efficiency measures even more important today than ever. And Santa Barbara homeowners can make a difference. Here are 7 ways to conserve water every day:
- Turn Your Faucet Off!
You probably don’t realize that an average of four gallons of water is wasted every time you leave your faucet running. Do you really need to leave the water on while you brush your teeth? I think not!
- Check for Leaky Toilets
“It may seem like a slow drip, but those drips add up to gallons faster than you might realize,” according to Maximum Yield. “To diagnose a silent toilet leak, place food coloring in your toilet tank and wait to see if the color makes it into the bowl. If you see color seeping in, it’s time for a fix.”
- Time Your Shower
Set a 10-minute timer whenever you take a shower. Even cutting back a couple times a week from long showers can make a difference. By shaving off just two minutes, you’ll save 1,750 gallons of water in a year!
- Wash Your Dishes in the Dishwasher
“Doing a full load in your machine is far more efficient than washing the same number of dishes by hand,” according to This Old House. “This is especially true if you have an Energy Star dishwasher, which requires an average of four gallons of water per load, compared with the 24 gallons it takes to do them in the sink. Using one will save you 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs, and 230 hours of your time each year.”
- Use the Car Wash
If you think you’re saving water by washing your car by hand, you’re not. In fact, washing your car at home uses two and a half times more water than the car wash!
- Are Your Sprinklers Working Properly?
When your sprinkler heads don’t work properly, you could be throwing water down the drain. Sprinklers can be broken or damaged easily so have them checked periodically. Also, never, never over water and only turn on your sprinklers in the early morning hours or at night.
“Water evaporates quickly when the sun is high, so sprinkle when it’s more likely to stay in the soil,” says the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “And make sure you’re watering your yard, not the sidewalk or driveway. A drip irrigation system works better than sprinklers, as it sends targeted amounts of water exactly where you want it. Check to see if you qualify for a rebate to make your irrigation system more water-efficient.”
- Use Rubber Mulch
“Rubber is a step up from the bark-like texture you’re probably used to seeing,” as reported by HGTV. “Made from 100-percent recycled tires, rubber mulch is suitable to use on most landscapes. It has several benefits: a safe play surface for children, prevents weeds, does not attract insects, and water and air can easily flow through it.”
For more ways to conserve water, check out this guide from Water Tech Advice, a website created to help homeowners easily find the best water technology for their home water demands. And to stay informed about the California drought, refer to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country.
Meantime, if you live in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please remember, the California drought is not over! If you are looking to move to a new property where you can continue to practice ways to conserve water, please call at (805) 886.-9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com. I’ll happily add your listing to my portfolio of fine homes in the area and find your new dream home for your family. No matter where you live in California, just remember: 10-minute showers!