Happy Earth Day: Living And Working In Drought States

April 22nd is Earth Day and today I am going to talk about a global crisis and that is water. I know I do this every year, but now it is getting really bad. Believe it or not, each of us can live with a shower, without our phones, without our cars.. WE CANNOT live without water. In fact, you can only live 3 days without water. It is not only the water we drink, it is our food… something to think about.

Last week our Governor Brown declared mandatory water rationing in California, finally. California, like many other states is in extreme drought conditions and each of us, including those who do not reside in drought states should conserve water as much as possible. Seven states have areas with exceptional drought conditions, including Arizona, Texas, Utah, Oregon, Nevada and add in another 9 states which are experiencing extreme drought in some areas.


Some Facts:

  • 783 million people do not have access to clean water
  • 2.5 Billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation
  • 6 to 8 million people die annually from water related diseases.


This drought will effect every single person in the USA.. Your food is going to go up, your water will go up, your travel might change…

  • Economy in California will have a $2.2 Billion loss due to ongoing dry spell.
  • The California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC) estimates the drought could take a $5 billion dollar bite out of an industry that brings in $44.7 billion annually.
  • There will be a loss of about 17,1000 seasonal and part time jobs.
  • State Parks are closing or limiting showers and toilet flushing.
  • Farmers and Ranchers are penalized the most,  letting fields go fallow and not raising livestock. When farmers and ranchers cannot produce…. Farm Failures will result.
  • 428,000 acres of irrigated cropland has gone out of production, mostly in California’s Central Valley, Central Coast and in Southern Ca (Source)
  • This means more people out of work, higher prices at the grocery store. Less income to the cities and states, which affects statewide spending and budgets.
  • Sadly, the drought will effect organic farmers and rancher the most.
  • A single burger takes 660 gallons (2,500 liters) of water to produce, with much of that used to irrigate livestock feed (Source)


Because of this, there are many things that each of us can to save water. In turn many of the water saving tips will also save you money.

Food: Money and waist savers

  • Quit buying bottled water. Do you know it take 1.39 liters to make one liter of water.? Add in the plastics and lets not even talk about Nestle sucking up California groundwater.
  • Quit drinking soda- a liter of soda, which requires 2.02 liters of water. A liter of beer require 4 liters of water. A liter of Wine calls for 4.74 liters.  A liter of Hard alcohol takes 34.55 liters of water.
  • Quit eating meat- A 1/3-pound burger requires 660 gallons of water.
  • Quit eating bread: A slice of bread requires 11 gallons of water

Water Saving Tips 

The first thing at your home or office, is to call your water company to come out for an audit. Many are free. They will be able to pick up the leaks and tell you where you can save. Check your home’s water meter for system leaks. Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, then read your meter. Make sure no one uses water for 30 minutes, then take a second reading. If the dial has moved, you have a leak in a toilet or water pipe.


  • Run the dishwasher and the washing machine only when they are full. You can save as 20 gallons a load just by doing this.
  • Don’t prerinse dishes before loading the dishwasher. Studies have shown that pre-rinsing doesn’t improve cleaning.
  • When rinsing off veggies and fruits, rinse over a bowl that you can reuse by watering your plants. You can do this with any extra water from steamed veggies, boiled eggs to coffee and tea. If you steam veggies, you can
  • If you like cold water, put it in the refrigerator to cool off, instead of running the faucet.
  • Defrost slowly in the fridge, instead of running water. .


  • To determine whether your toilet is leaking, add food coloring to the tank water and let it sit 15 minutes. If it appears in the bowl, there’s a leak.
  • Install low flow Toilets. Flush only when necessary. Meaning, don’t us it as a waste can and try to flush as less as possible. If that is not a possibility, you can displace some water in the toilet tank with a capped plastic liter bottle.
  • Turn off faucet when brushing teeth. Savings 2-3 gallons per minute.
  • Install low flow shower heads. Save from 5-7 gallons per minute.
  • Take a 3 minute shower.


  • Never wash down your driveway and patio. Sweep them.
  • Fix your leaky hoses
  • Use underground drip systems, not the sprinklers that spray everything in site.
  • Reset the timers to Water in early morning.
  • Hand-water with a hose where possible. Homeowners who water with a handheld hose can use one-third less water outdoors than those who use automatic sprinklers.
  • Keep your grass longer. It will help keep moisture in and reduce the amount of watering you have to do.
  • Aerate your garden.
  • Add compost and mulch to keep moisture in.
  • Use Native or drought tolerant plants.


  • Have your car washed as a place that uses recycled water.
  • Don’t ask for water at restaurants.
  • Put off for a day or two washing linens and clothing.
  • Try not to shower everyday. Sponge yourself off.

Long-term investments

  • Make your next dishwasher a water-saver. Check our Green ratings for efficient options.
  • Make your next clothes washer a water-saver. Check our Green ratings for efficient options.
  • Install Tankless Water Heater or Hot Water point of use system
  • Replace older toilets with low-flow models.
  • Insulate your water heater and all hot-water pipes so you waste less while waiting for the hot water to flow.
  • Consider purchasing a rain barrel.
  • Consider drip irrigation for flowers and shrubs. These systems, which can be purchased at home-improvement and garden retailers, are lengths of thin plastic tubing perforated at intervals and placed at the base of plants where the water can most efficiently penetrate to the roots.



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