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Last Updated: Aug 26, 2016

Water Saving Strategies

Got a water-saving tip for us? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or by email at UtilitiesCommunications@cityofpaloalto.org We'll post them! View tips from other community members below.

In most homes, about 50% of water is used outdoors on the landscape.  The remaining water is used inside the home.  Below are some useful ways to help you avoid water waste.  We have a
presentation, tips for lawn removal and a list of tips and resources to help you find alternatives to lawn for your yard.

Water Efficiency Programs

Find out more information on our 
water efficiency programs including free home water surveys, conservation devices and rebates to assist with your water efficiency efforts.

Have you ever wondered how many gallons of water each person in your home uses per day?
 H
ow does your water use measure up?

Calculate your home's water, energy and climate footprint and discover ways you can reduce your impact.

Top 10 ways to save water in your landscape:

  1. Check your irrigation controller once a month, and adjust as necessary. Most plants require only one-third as much water in winter as they do in summer. To find out how much water your plants need, visit the Landscape Watering Calculator.
  2. Fix leaking sprinklers, valves, and pipes. One broken spray sprinkler can waste 10 gallons per minute, or 100 gallons in a typical 10 minute watering cycle.
  3. Move lawn away from sidewalks and pavement. Instead plant shrubs or groundcover next to the pavement, and water with low-flow drip or bubbler system to eliminate runoff from turf sprinklers.  You will avoid watering sidewalks and streets--they don't grow, no matter how much water you apply!
  4. Check the soil moisture level before watering. You can reduce your water use 20 to 50% by regularly checking the soil before watering.  Another tip--do not water during rain storms.
  5. Water high water-use plants separately from low water-use plants. Low water-use plants can grow with one-half the water needed by high water-use plants, and can be easily damaged from over watering.
  6. Apply as little fertilizer as possible. If you use fertilizer, make sure it stays on the landscape.  After applying it, carefully water to make sure the fertilizer soaks on, so there is NO runoff.  Use less toxic products.  More info is available at ourwaterourworld.org
  7. Replace turf with groundcover, trees, and drought tolerant or native shrubs. If you have areas where no one uses the grass, patches that do not grow well, or a turf area too small to water without runoff, consider replacing the turf with water-efficient landscaping. Rebates are available!
  8. Dig-up patches of weeds and undesirable grasses from turf areas. Use water to grow the plants you want, not weeds you don’t want! Once you have eliminated what you don’t want, add sod or over-seed to repair the bare areas.
  9. If you irrigate, choose a water-efficient system.  Change spray sprinklers to low-flow bubbler or drip systems. Shrubs and trees are ideal candidates for this type of irrigation because the water is applied directly to the root zones.
  10. Adjust the water pressure of your irrigation system. Spray sprinklers work best at 30 pounds per square inch (psi), and gear and impact rotor sprinklers at 40 to 60 psi.

Top 10 ways to save water in your home:

  1. Replace your old front loading clothes washer with a new high-efficiency model that saves 40% on water use and 50-60% on energy use per cycle. Rebates are available!
  2. Only wash full loads of laundry and dishes
  3. Replace your old water guzzling toilet with a new high-efficiency toilet (HET) that uses 70% less water. HETs either use 1.28 gallons per flush or less or may also be dual flush toilets. Rebates are available! For rebate information and qualifying models, visit www.saveourwaterrebates.com
  4. Replace your old showerheads and faucet aerators with more efficient models. These are available for free by contacting CPAU or better yet, let us install them for you with a free Water-Wise House Call.
  5. When you hear a toilet running or a faucet dripping, fix it as soon as possible. Leaks can waste hundreds of gallons of day, especially the silent toilet leaks that can go unnoticed. To be sure your toilet isn't leaking, use toilet dye tablets once a month to check for flapper leaks.
  6. Know where water shut off valves are located for your fixtures. In case you need to repair a toilet or sink you can shut the water supply off to just that fixture. Most modern homes have a shut off valve beneath a sink or a toilet, behind the washing machine or at the pipe leading to the water heater.
  7. Don't let the water run while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face. By just turning off the water while you brush your teeth you can save over 5 gallons a day.
  8. Take shorter showers. Try to limit your time in the shower to 5 to 7 minutes. Contact CPAU for a free 5 minute shower timer.
  9. Do a monthly leak check on your house. Start by checking your water meter. Turn off all water using fixtures in the home and don't run any water for about 20 minutes. Check the water meter, which is usually located in the front of your house by the sidewalk. If the triangular dial is spinning, you have water running somewhere in the home.
  10. If you have an old water softener, switch to a demand initiated regeneration model that regenerates based on your usage and not just due to the set schedule. Make sure any water softener model has a shut-off switch to operate when going on vacations!

Here are Some Tips from Water-Savers Like You!

  1. Consider adjusting the water valve under sink faucets to a lower flow. Even with less pressure, you can still get enough water flowing to help get your hand or dishwashing job done!

For more information on water projects, programs and water supply updates, visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/water or call (650) 329-2241.  Join our mailing list for updates on programs, rebates and workshops.

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2016