New Year’s Resolutions for the Conscientious Homeowner

Stephanie loves hikingWater in San Diego County

San Diego County imports over 80 percent of our drinking water from far-away sources such as the Colorado River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. We use about half of that drinking water for outdoor uses, such as watering our lawns. This dependence on energy-intensive imported water and water-intensive uses is unsustainable, especially in the face of longer, more intense periods of drought and dryness.

It’s no secret that water is at the heart of San Diegans’ lifestyles. Water is a vital resource in our lives as it’s used for everything from hygiene to recreation to enhancing aesthetics. It is important for us, as community members, to be cognizant of our local environment and natural resources, and become environmental stewards by reducing our water consumption. Many of us are hungry for ways to make a difference and to take action to make our community a more sustainable one. The good news is that if you are a homeowner, there are many steps you can take to have a gentler impact on our environment, and use our precious waters more lightly. The New Year is a great time to commit to making the changes you may have been putting off.

10 Resolutions for a Mindful New Year

  1. Transform your water-intensive lawn into a beautiful garden with native and drought-tolerant plants. This not only helps preserve the unique local beauty of our region, but provides a rich habitat for local wildlife, all while saving water.
  2. Want to keep a section of your lawn for your kids or pup? Make sure to adjust your sprinklers to water your landscape, not the pavement.
  3. Plant an edible garden and water it in the early morning since cooler morning temperatures means losing less water to evaporation. Amazingly, an edible garden generally takes less water than a lawn, and turns the water you do use into
  4. Install a rain catchment system, such as a rain barrel or cistern, in order to capture and reuse rainwater. Free what from the sky, anyone? Look to local company H2OME for San Diego’s resident experts.
  5. Identify and repair broken irrigation pipes, dripping faucets, and broken sprinkler heads. Maintenance like this can make a huge difference.
  6. Install faucet aerators, low-flow toilets, and water efficient shower heads, or appliances that have the WaterSense label.
  7. Turn off the tap while completing tasks, such as washing your dishes and brushing your teeth. It’s a simple habit worth building.
  8. Always make sure you’re doing a full load in your washing machine and dishwasher! Water isn’t doing any good washing empty space.
  9. If you need to wash your car, take it to a professional car wash – where wash water is recycled! – rather than washing at home with the hose.
  10. Teach your family, friends, and neighbors how to conserve water by setting a great example in your own life.


Thirsty for more? Find a whole plethora of other tips for lighter living here.