Water Conservation and Drought – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
1. How much water do we typically use?
The average person uses almost 100 gallons of water per day.
2. How is the water used around the home?
Landscape irrigation typically accounts for 50 to 60% of the residential water consumption. With traditional appliances and fixtures, toilets and clothes washers are the highest consumers of indoor water, followed by showers and faucets.
3. Do low-flow toilets really work?
Yes, they reduce the water required per flush from 3.5, 5 or 7 gallons to 1.6 gallons, saving water and reducing your water bill. Low flow toilets have been engineered with higher velocity flushing to clear wastes, versus higher volumes of water.
4. Do more efficient water fixtures and appliances really make a difference?
Yes, with water efficient devices installed and regular leak inspections, the typical household can reduce water use by 30% or more.
5. Why is checking for leaks so important?
Even small leaks can waste significant amounts of water. A faucet dripping one drop per second will waste 2700 gallons per year. A leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons per day. It is estimated that about 20% of toilets leak.
6. What can I do to lower my water consumption?
7. What is California Friendly Landscaping?
It is a technique that creates water-efficient landscapes by using plants that are appropriate for the conditions of the environment. A well-designed California Friendly landscape is beautiful and uses a fraction of the water required by a traditional landscape dominated by a lawn. Click here http://www.smgov.net/Departments/OSE/Categories/Landscape/Garden-Garden.aspx to see Santa Monica study for water, gardening and green waste savings.
1. What is a drought?
A drought is a condition that occurs when the precipitation is below normal for some extended period of time. Droughts are not rare; they are a natural recurring feature of the climate. Though they vary significantly from one region to another, they occur in virtually all climate zones. For more information, visit the California Department of Water Resources at http://www.owue.water.ca.gov/
2. What differentiates a normal rainfall year from a dry year?
Most of California’s precipitation comes from storms moving across the Pacific Ocean. The path followed by the storms is determined by the position of an atmospheric high-pressure belt that normally shifts southward during the winter months. On average, 75% of California’s annual precipitation occurs between November and March, with 50% occurring between December and February.
3. What were typical reductions in urban water use during the last drought?
In 1991, the driest single year of the last drought, large urban water agencies used measures such as voluntary conservation, mandatory rationing, and extensive education and outreach programs to achieve 20% – 30% water reductions.
4. When was California’s last major drought?
1987-92. While Governor Brown declared the drought was over on March of 2011, California still has major water issues. For more information, visit: http://aquafornia.com/californias-water-crisis
5. How do droughts affect groundwater use?
In an average year, about 30% of California’s urban and agricultural water supplies come from groundwater pumping. Reliance on groundwater increases during droughts due to the reduced availability of surface water. Increased groundwater pumping during droughts results in increased lowering of water levels in groundwater basins. Information about changes in groundwater levels is available at http://well.water.ca.gov/ and use the map interface to locate your area of interest.
6. Why isn’t recycled water the answer to meeting water needs during droughts?
Recycled water can help reduce our need for potable water. However, it can only be used for outdoor irrigation uses. While cities are expanding their use of recycled water, it is a slow and expensive program that is mainly only cost effective for large irrigation needs.
7. Why isn’t seawater desalting the answer to meeting water needs?
Although improvements in desalting technology are increasing its efficiency, the high-energy costs associated with seawater desalting make it prohibitively expensive for most water agencies, compared to other alternatives. The present capacity of California municipal seawater desalting plants represents less than one-tenth of a percent of California’s water use.