FYI, Gov. Jerry Brown has officially declared a statewide drought emergency, asking that everyone cut water use by 20 percent.
While the rest of the country fights the polar vortex and sub-zero temperatures, let’s work together to battle our unfortunate 70-degree, sunny, dry winter. According to MSN, Berkeley is within the extreme high fire danger zone. In response, the Clog has come up with some creative ways to reduce your own personal water usage in Berkeley.
But first, what exactly is a drought emergency?
Water levels are reportedly the lowest they’ve been since records began about 100 years ago. Some cities and towns are reportedly running low on water and have started to adopt rationing measures in response, according to an article published in the Los Angeles Times.
Folsom Lake is so low that a previously submerged mining-era settlement has now exposed itself.
So what is Brown doing in response?
Well, he’s instructed an increase in seasonal firemen, and asked for a 20 percent decrease in water usage by Californians. He’s also making efforts to raise public awareness and accelerating relief efforts. UC President Janet Napolitano advocated a similar goal of reducing UC systemwide water consumption by 20 percent by 2020.
What can you do to help?
As you can see, water conservation is a big deal. We talked to Lisa McNeilly, director of sustainability at UC Berkeley, and searched the Internet for the best ways to reduce your water usage easily. Individual contributions and starting good habits now is important, according to McNeilly.
“If you have good water conservations habits now, you can continue to make good choices in the future,” she said.
We’ve broken down your typical apartment into three areas you can focus on conserving water.
In the bathroom:
- Obviously, being a bright UC Berkeley student, you’re aware that turning off the tap when brushing your teeth will conserve water. But how about when you’re washing your hands, shaving or running that water so your roommates don’t hear you pee? Remember a few of these tips next time you hit the bathroom for your morning routine.
1. Lather, rinse, don’t repeat. One time through with the shampoo is enough, we promise.
2. Ditch the baths; showers are faster and use much less water.
3. You have to pee? You have to shower? Pee in the shower! … We’re kidding. That’s gross.
4. Put a brick in the toilet tank. No, really. By displacing water in the toilet tank, the amount of flushable water is limited.
5. Check for toilet bowl leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring into the tank and if the water in the bowl changes color, you’ve got a leak!
6. Aim for three to five minutes. You can time yourself by trying to finish your shower before your favorite song ends.
7. Get a low-flow shower head to reduce the amount of water used per shower. Find them cheap online, and use plumber’s tape to help with the installation. Check out this how-to.
8. When the shower starts, we know many of you will let the cold water run for a while first before stepping in. Put a bucket under the faucet while it heats up, and use that to water houseplants or wash your dishes.
In the laundry room:
Considering we’re college students and rarely do laundry in the first place, this is probably not a huge issue. But in case you’re laundry-crazy, here are some tips to help you keep your habit under control:
1. Wash in cold water. This way, you don’t have to separate lights and darks, and two loads become one.
2. Only wash full loads. Do you really need that shirt washed this moment? Or share the washer with your roommates!
In the kitchen:
While dishwashing may also be uncharted territory for many of you, it’s a job that needs to be done eventually. If it’s your turn to attack that disgusting sink, keep a few things in mind:
1. If you have a dishwasher, make sure it’s completely full before turning it on.
2. In order to save water, fill the sink with soapy water instead of leaving the tap to run.
3. Use the microwave or refrigerator, not tap water, to thaw frozen food!
Contact Tara Lookabaugh at [email protected]