In January, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency and urged Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent. Then last month, the Santa Clara Valley Water District called for mandatory measures to reach a water use reduction target equal to 20 percent of 2013 water use, through Dec. 31, 2014.

“We can’t take water for granted during this drought emergency and even under normal conditions. Water is our most precious natural resource. How we conserve and manage this resource will determine our future and that of generations to come,” said David Tonna, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR).

To help consumers conserve on water, SILVAR has compiled the following water conservation tips from the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Save Our H2O websites:

Conserve Water Indoors:
• Fix those leaks! To help detect hidden leaks, turn off anything that uses water and see if your water meter is still moving. If it is, there could be a leak somewhere. You can also put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak.
• Take (short) showers instead of baths. Showers use about a third as much water.
• Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing your teeth.
• When washing your hair or hands, turn the water off while you lather.
• Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
• Run the dishwasher or washing machine on a full load.
• Install water-efficient devices such as high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency washing machines, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.
• When washing dishes by hand, fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
• Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
• Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.

Conserve Water Outdoors
• Reduce the time you water your lawns and water lawns in the morning to avoid evaporation.
• Keep grass at least two inches high to shade roots.
• Water trees slowly, deeply and infrequently to encourage deep rooting. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes people make.
• Use a broom rather than the hose to clean off walkways, patios and other outdoor areas.
• Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
• Choose a water-efficient irrigation system, such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs, and flowers. Save: 15 gallons/each time you water.
• Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool.
• Plant drought-resistant trees and plants.
• When washing your car, use a bucket of water or a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle instead of letting the hose run.

“If we follow these simple water conservation measures, we could save a lot of water and even save on our water bill. According to the Santa Clara Valley Water District, if everyone saved 20 gallons a day, we’d save more than 13 billion gallons a year in Santa Clara County alone,” said Tonna.

For more water conservation tips, visit at and