All Tapped Out

Who doesn’t appreciate a verdant carpet of lawn or a shimmery, cool swimming pool glistening in the sun? As Californians stare down the long dry barrel of our fourth year of drought, it may be time to rethink these symbols of a bygone time. The Marin Municipal Water District is on a mission beginning June 1, 2015 through February 2016 to reduce water usage by 20% compared to 2013. The good news is that Marin-ites are hydro-thrifty with our fair citizens water usage achieving an average monthly savings of 13.5%. (According to MMWD). Way to go Marin! However, to keep on track and save these precious droplets, let’s take a closer look at the best ways to save thousands of gallons of water a month.


One of the easiests ways to eliminate excess water usage is through grassicide. Yes, get rid of that lawn. Try solarizing or "cover and smother” method of killing the grass instead of tearing it out. Then replace it with artificial grass or, better yet, drought tolerant landscaping. Finally, look at alternative ways to irrigate your landscaping. Try greywater irrigation or rain catchment but rain catchment does require rain to fall so that one might be wishful thinking for now…


Is it time to pull the plug on that liquid luxury…the pool? Most pools when newly filled require approximately 32,000-40,000 gallons though much less is required just to top off the pool in succeeding years. By comparison, watering a 1,200 square foot lawn requires about 44,000 gallons a year. Removing your pool can cost between $6,000-$15,000. If you still want to keep the pool, make sure to keep a cover on it when not in use and keep the heat turned down to cut back on evaporation. Check for leaks and make sure pumps and filters are working optimally. And finally, less splashing keeps the water in so no more cannonballing, if you can help it.


If you were too young to remember these water saving tips from our last major drought in 1976, here are the dependable “duh” tips once again:

  • Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.
  • When shopping for a new dishwasher, use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
  • Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water houseplants.
  • Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
  • Look for WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads when purchasing these items.
  • While you wait for hot water, collect the running water and use it to water plants.
  • Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month. Or, shower with a friend. Just kidding…or not.
  • Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.

For more water saving tips, visit: Water- Use It Wisely

Let’s keep our beautiful county on track with local and statewide water saving incentives. Consider these oasis of water wisdom for your domicile. Happy Summer!

-Katrina Kehl