Bay Area water experts give tips to save during drought

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Experts say switching out toilets and shower heads are two of the biggest changes a homeowner can make to save substantial amounts of water inside their homes. (KGO-TV)

Despite the rain that fell on Tuesday, California remains in an extreme drought and our conservation efforts are falling short. In fact, we saved less water in February than in any month since officials began tracking it. The numbers show water conservation numbers at less than 3 percent statewide and 8 percent in the Bay Area.

On Tuesday, the state water resources board began discussing how to enforce Governor Jerry Brown's orders for a 25 percent cutback. The agency released a draft plan with water reduction targets for cities from 10 to 35 percent.

Water conservation efforts in California fall short

"The two biggest things would be the toilets and the shower heads," said Kate Brady with General Plumbing.

According to Brady, those are the two biggest changes a homeowner can make to save substantial amounts of water inside their homes. That includes installing low flow toilets and switching out shower heads to those that use a lot less water and perform better than older models.

"This preconception that low flow fixtures don't work is really not right," Brady said. "More than restrict the flow, the manufacturers have also done a lot of engineering. So you actually get a very full feeling shower with the restricted flow."

But any changes inside, should be accompanied by those changes outside; the kinds of things that can cut residential water use by as much as 50 percent.

"We're still going to put in a new lawn, but we're going to put in a very drought tolerant native lawn," said Alex Cartwright with CK Water System. "And it will pay out in dividends, you know, as far as the water is concerned, especially now with the mandatory restrictions. And I don't think people really have a choice anymore."

Those are the kind of moves that Bay Area water districts will be rewarding in the months to come. Those that don't make changes could be penalized.

"There could be the potential that they would see fines this year," said Jennifer Allen with the Contra Costa Water District. "Or, we could even go to the extreme of shutting somebody's water off if they are not following the prohibitions."

According to the State Water Resources Control Board, Californians conserved well in 2014 but then fell way off in February of this year when water savings dropped below 3 percent.

For water rebate information from Bay Area water suppliers, click here. And click here for tips on how to conserve.

For full coverage on the drought, click here.

Related Topics:
california waterdroughtconservationrecycled waterwaterwater conservationweatherWalnut CreekSan FranciscoMarinSan MateoSan Jose
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