Household Water Savings Guide

Household Water Savings Guide

In the San Diego region, water conservation has great benefits all year long. Drought or no drought, the entire region is an arid environment, which needs water from a variety expensive sources to sustain our quality of life. When practiced year-round, water conservation reduces pollution in our oceans, saves our most precious natural resource and helps you save money all year long. Here are some tips to help save water and a link for water saving rebates available for residents in the city of San Diego.

In the House

  • Turn off the bathroom sink while shaving or brushing your teeth. Some bathroom faucets can use up to two gallons of water per minute. Install an aerator to help restrict water flow to the faucet, this can decrease usage and use as little as .5 gallons of water per minute.
  • Scrape dirty dishes instead of rinsing before placing them in the dishwasher. Some dishwashers don’t require any pre-rinsing, check your user’s manual to find out.
  • Run the dishwasher on full loads of dishes only. Inefficient dishwashers can use up to 15 gallons per load, make sure the dishwasher is used only when fully loaded with dishes and invest in an efficient model that can save money, energy and water.
  • Run full loads of laundry. Even if your washing machine has an adjustable load setting, the washing machine will be the most efficient when run on a full load.
  • Place a bucket in the shower to capture the water that is run while warming under shower. Tub faucets can use a minimum of four gallons of water per minute. That clean water running down the drain can be useful! Try using collected water to water your garden and trees.
    • Also, learn how to take a Navy Shower and reduce water use by 90 percent!

In the Yard

  • Turn off irrigation systems before rainstorms. When significant rainfall occurs, make sure you don’t run your sprinklers. Some irrigation systems even allow you to set seasonal irrigation programs.
  • Install a pool cover to reduce evaporation. Evaporation causes pools to lose over hundreds of gallons a year. Simply by covering a pool can cut evaporation by 95 percent lowering the demand to refill the pool more often.
  • Wash your car with a bucket and sponge instead of a hose. Washing your car with an open hose can use up to 100 gallons per wash. Choose to go to a car wash center that recycles the water.
  • Install rain gutters and rain barrels to capture water from your roof. By installing a rain barrel for your home, you reduce the demand on the potable water system to irrigate your garden. Plus, unchlorinated rain water is better for plant health.  

Learn More

  • Attend Water Conservation Workshops. Attend a workshop like an I Love a Clean San Diego workshop to learn more about local programs that can help you save money and learn more tips and tricks! 
  • Utilize Local Water Savings Rebates. There are many local rebate programs that can help you save money when purchasing and installing rain gutters, rain barrels, or downspout redirects.

Check out Think Blue San Diego for more tips and information about water conservation rebates and visit for more local resources.

What’s that Smell? Ani’s Compost Journey

Several members of the ILACSD team compost food scraps at home. While our previous compost blogs have focused on vermicompost, composting organic material with the help of worms, it is isn’t the only option for those with limited space. Ani, our Recycling Programs Manager, recently added a small, easy to turn, worm-free compost bin to her home to make the most of her food scraps. Read on to learn more about her compost journey and one of the trials she faced early on – smelly compost.  

MILACSD holiday party 2015 (41)y journey with compost started about a year ago when my boyfriend and I decided that we wanted to invest in a compost bin for our food scraps. The first step was determining what type of bin I needed that would best suit my schedule and needs. It is important to note that every compost pile and bin is different, for example, I chose to purchase a compost tumbler to limit the time it takes to manually turn the contents in the pile with a shovel. This might not be the case in every household though. My compost bin instantly mixes when I spin it, which is convenient for me and needless to say that it takes less than a minute to turn.

Compost Pile
An look inside Ani’s compost bin showcasing a healthy balance of greens and browns.

When I started collecting food scraps for the bin, I found myself with an overly stinky compost pile. I had missed an important component of composting practices…keeping the ratio of nitrogen to carbon just right. This balance between nitrogen and carbon is key to having a successful compost pile. Carbon-rich materials like leaves, mulch, wood chips and nut shells are referred to as “browns” and nitrogen-rich materials like food scraps are referred to as “greens.” I was so excited to have a place to store my food scraps, or my “greens,” that I neglected my “browns” contribution to the compost bin. To offset the smell, I placed shredded newspaper in the pile as my “browns” because of the lack of “browns” in my backyard.

Composting is definitely a work of art with an environmental twist. Maintaining that balance between “greens” and “browns” is a small component of it and this was just one issue that required some research on my part. It’s safe to say that my experience with composting has been an interesting and informative one.

Compost Bin
Here’s an example of what Ani’s bin looks like – compact and easy to turn.

Remember that every compost pile is different and may require several changes to the formula before it starts to look (and smell) like its processing your organic materials correctly.

Stay tuned for my follow-up blog where I will share my best practices for pest control!

If you’re looking for more composting resources, check out our one-stop recycling database,!



Water Wasters Beware!

May is Water Awareness Month and it is only fitting that today’s blog comes from our friends at the San Diego County Water Authority! You may remember a blog from last fall called, When in DROUGHT, turn to us!” that focused on water use restrictions and how ILACSD staff conserve water in their lives. As water restrictions have intensified, we wanted to make sure you’re are up-to-date. Read on to learn new ways to conserve water in your life! 

When in Drought

State Mandates Water-Use Cuts

This means we all need to do our part to save water every day, every way

May is Water Awareness Month, and what we all need to be aware of is that the governor has ordered mandatory cuts in water use to start June 1.   If we all do a little more to save water, it can add up to big savings for our region – in terms of water and avoiding financial penalties from the state.

Each local water agency has a conservation target to reach from June 2015 through February 2016. These cuts range from 8 to 36 percent depending on each agency’s level of per-capita water-use. If a member agency does not reach its conservation target in the coming months, the agency could face fines. 

Summer is almost here, the peak season for water use.

  • watering yardLimit outdoor watering to two days per week, less if you can.
  • Leaks should be corrected immediately – sign up for your free WaterSmart Check up today!
  • Decorative water fountains must use a recirculating pump.
  • Use a broom to clear driveways, sidewalks and paved areas instead of a hose, which is prohibited.

Are you looking for even more ways to conserve water?

  • Opt to stop watering you lawn areas and let them get a tan this summer! (forget Orange is the New Black, Brown is the new Green!)washer
  • Shorten your showers. Shaving 1 minute off your shower time saves 150 gallons a month! 
  • Collect the warm-up water from your shower and use it to water plants.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Turn off the faucet when washing, shaving or brushing teeth – you’ll save about 2 gallons per minute!
  • Install water-efficient appliances and take advantage of rebates at
Sarah watering plants
Sarah, ILACSD’s Development & Marketing Coordinator, uses old water to water plants at the office instead of pouring it down the sink!

Already doing everything to conserve? Share what you’re doing with SDCWA on Facebook and Twitter

Check with your local water agency to see what restrictions are in place in your community. If you aren’t sure which member agency to contact, go to for the member agency locator, more conservation tips, and rebate information.

Thank you for saving water every day, every way!