New Water Conservation Rule: If It’s Yellow, Let it Mellow...

Times are tough for Western U.S. inhabitants, and it’s not COVID-related.

While experiencing what is arguably the worst drought ever seen, people are being asked to explore all avenues of water conservation, including but not limited to: taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet if not consistently using the flowing water, and managing sprinkler schedules for lawns and gardens.

But there is one more way everyone can go about conserving water…reduce how often you flush your toilet.

Stephanie Pincetl, professor at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, says “Oh yeah, absolutely” when asked about reduced flushing of toilets. “I do it drought or no drought because we live in a climate where that no longer makes a difference.” She continues to say that “Nurturing our resources matters anywhere you are…[and] even the East experiences drier weather…with climate change, we have an enormous amount of fluctuation.”

The average person flushes the toilet five to seven times a day according to Katherine Cushing, environmental studies professor at San Jose State. “If you could reduce that to four to six times, that’s a big improvement.”

Additionally, single-family homeowners can explore alternatives to watering their lawn by changing their landscaping practices. Many families are beginning to transition to dry gardens, using rocks, succulents and other plants that endure dry, hot weather and are still aesthetically pleasing. “That would definitely be No.1,” says hall when referring to reducing water use outside of the home. People are also encouraged to have a bucket in their shower while waiting for the water to heat up, which they could then use to water their lawn. A little goes a long way. Especially right now.

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