Virtually the entire state of California has been affected by historic drought for the last several years. But last winter was wetter than expected, and as a result, the state eased several water use restrictions that carried steep fines for violations. And even with many restrictions lifted, Californians are sticking with their good water conservation habits.

June 2016 was the first month the lighter restrictions were in place, and statewide water use was still 21.5 percent lower than in June 2013, before restrictions were initially enacted.

"The community spirit of realizing that water is something to treat with respect and not take for granted is holding," Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of California’s State Water Resources Control Board, said to the Christian Science Monitor. "Most importantly is for people to keep the lawn on a water diet."

It’s a good thing Californians have gotten into the water conservation spirit; since restrictions proved so effective, Gov. Jerry Brown made a few of the state’s restrictions permanent. These include bans on lawn watering within 48 hours of rainfall, hosing off sidewalks and driveways, and ornamental fountains that don’t recirculate water.

If it worked for most of California, it could work for you, too -- Benjamin Franklin Plumbing encourages you to adopt a few water conservation habits and keep them for a month. You might find that they’re so simple, you can make them permanent in your own practice and save water year after year!

Water Conservation Made Easy

Salvage water. An easy way to salvage reusable water is to put a bucket in the tub with you anytime you take a shower. Another simple change is to rinse fruits and vegetables over a pan to catch the runoff. You can even set up large rain collection barrels under your gutter downspouts. All this salvaged water can be safely used to water your garden or even flush your toilets, saving several gallons every week.

Be disciplined about the faucet. When brushing your teeth, shaving or washing dishes, it’s easy to let the water run when you’re not actively using it. But every second counts! Make a point of only turning on the faucet when you need water and turning it off as soon as you’re done -- even if it means reaching for the handle more often.

Take shorter showers. It feels nice to linger in the shower, but it wastes water, too. Start taking a timer to the shower to get an accurate sense for how much time you spend, and try to reduce your time by 30 seconds each shower until you’re taking the most efficient showers possible.

No more half-loads. When using your washing machine or dishwasher, wait until you have a full load before starting the cycle.

Need more help conserving water, such as by upgrading to water-efficient fixtures? Get in touch with your local plumbing experts.

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