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Drought Resilience

by Dave Olson


Let's become water resilient

California Water officials have issued a warning that the state could fall into an official drought within the next year. In San Francisco we are privileged to have a good supply of water, and of good quality. This is something we should not take for granted, nor assume that it we will always have all the water we need. Each resident can contribute to water resilience in our neighborhoods and help sustain a fair supply of water to everyone in the state.

The main source of water for San Francisco is the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, coming to the city through the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, but water is drawn from many other sources as well. This puts our city in cooperation with other cities and entities when supplies are allocated. So, when we conserve water we are aiding not only ourselves but many other state residents and entities as well – like the farmers who produce the food which we eat!

Let's not wait until mandatory restrictions are put in place (How we all loved the COVID-19 restrictions!) to conserve water. Let's begin now to economize our water use and keep the water flowing for all. Here are some practical ways to conserve water use in your home.

1. Check your toilet for leaks.

Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the coloring begins to appear in the bowl., you have a leak that may be wasting more than 100 gallons of water a day.

2. Stop using your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket

Every cigarette butt or tissue you flush away also flushes away five to seven gallons of water.

3. Take shorter showers

A typical shower uses five to ten gallons of water a minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rise off.

4. Take baths

A partially filled tub uses less water than all but the shortest showers.

5. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth

Before brushing, wet your brush and fill a glass for rinsing your mouth.

6. Turn off the water while shaving

Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of warm water in which to rinse your razor.

7. Check faucets and pipes for leaks

Even a small drip can waste 50 or more gallons of water a day.

8. Use your automatic dishwasher for full loads only

Every time you run your dishwasher, you use about 25 gallons of water.

9. Use your automatic washing machine only for full loads only

Your automatic washer uses 30 to 35 gallons per cycle.

10. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables

Rinse your vegetables instead in a bowl or sink full of clean water.

11. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator

This puts a stop to the wasteful practice of running tap water to cool it for drinking.

12. If you wash dishes by hand, don't leave the water running for rinsing

If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you have only one sink, first gather all your washed dishes in a dish rack, then rinse them quickly with a spray device or a pan of water.

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