GreenTown Los Altos

Will You Reduce Water Use By 32%? Try These Tips.


Jun 2015


Remember this number: 32.

Water use by type. Source: Linda Gass

That’s the percent mandated for Los Altos residents to reduce water starting in July. Knowing how water is used is a good starting point for hitting that reduction number.

Landscaping (50%):

With around 50% of water typically used for irrigation, your lawn is the best source to tap for most savings. Cutback irrigation to about 1/3 of 2013 use, no more than twice a week.

Install drip or subsurface irrigation which is 95% efficient, making it 35% more efficient than spray watering so if you haven’t looked into it, now is the time.1

Climate appropriate native plants require only 1/10th the water of lawns. Why? The shallow roots of turf require significantly more water to maintain than native plants, which can survive on a minimum amount of water. Native plants initially need watering weekly, then monthly or less after roots are established.

Mulching around trees and plants can help in preventing water from evaporating.

Cover your pools for minimal evaporation.

Using a running hose when washing concrete, asphalt, or a vehicle is forbidden.

How the Other Use Areas Can Be Minimized.

Toilets (10%)

Efficient toilets can reduce the amount of water flushed by 20-60% compared to older models.2 “Ultra Low Flow Toilets” use 1.6 gallons per flush, “High-Efficiency Toilets” use 1.28-.8 gallons per flush while older pre-1990 models use 3.5 – 5 or more gallons per flush.3 Switching to a high-efficiency toilet can save 19 gallons per person each day.4

Dual flush toilets have separate flushes for liquid and solid waste.

Toilets can be flushed with saved water from warming up taps.

Shower (10%)

Low-flow showerheads can save 2.5 gallons per minute.4

A five versus 10 minute shower saves 12.5 gallons from a low flow showerhead and 25 gallons with a standard 5 gallon per minute showerhead.4

Turning off water while washing hair (daily) can save up to 150 gallons per month.4

Water from taps that are warming up can be captured and used for plants or to flush toilets.

Laundry (10%)

Only running full loads in a washer will save both water and energy.

A water-efficient washer can save 16 gallons/load.4

Greywater can be utilized by directing water used by washing machines to outdoor landscapes, thereby reducing need for outdoor watering.

Leaks (9%)

Finding and fixing all leaks can eliminate 9% of average water usage. A free house call from a Santa Clara Valley Water District representative can help detect leaks and determine other ways to save water.

A toilet with leaks can waste around 200 gallons a day. Yes, a day.2

Faucets (8%)

Faucets usually run at 2 gallons per minute, so closing the tap while brushing teeth or shaving can save over 200 gallons per month.2

When hand washing dishes, closing the tap and using the sink or a basin uses half the amount of water than running an open tap when washing dishes does, which uses up to 20 gallons of water.2

Baths (1%)

A full bathtub can hold up to 70 gallons of water so filling it halfway or less can save 12 gallons.4 Shorter showers use less water than a bath.

Water can be caught in a bucket while it is warming up and used to flush toilets or water plants.

Dishwashers (1%)

The dishwasher can be used more efficiently by only running full loads on the “light” setting instead of normal cycle. Refraining from rinsing dishes before loading into the dishwater can save up to 10 gallons per load.2

Author: Malar Ganapathiappan



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