Fresh water is perhaps the most important resource on the planet. It is a key building block of all life as we know it. For instance, did you know the human body is up to 60% water? Each day we must replace over a half-gallon of water through food and drink. Did you also know you’re living in a drought? In June 2008, California’s Governor proclaimed a statewide drought for the first time since 1991. In these times, it just makes sense to conserve water.
In Orange, homes consume 65% of our water demand, followed by the commercial/business sector at 35%. Single-family residences used on average ~166 gallons per day in 2007. Yikes!!! On average, a shocking 60% of residential water consumption is used to irrigate landscaping outdoors, while the remaining 40% is used indoors. Indoors, the largest use of water is for flushing toilets. The clothes washer places a close second, followed by bath and shower water.
Save big! – Replace your old toilet with newer, water efficient models (High efficiency toilets save up to 38 gallons per toilet per day). At a minimum, insure that your toilet isn’t leaking. Check out our rebates for making the switch to high efficiency toilets!
Brush... don’t flush your money away! – Turn off the water when you brush your teeth (saves 3 gallons per day).
Shorten your shower! – Shorten your showers by two minutes (saves 5+ gallons per day) and use efficient shower heads. Shower timers are also available in most home stores. You can also install flow switches before your showerhead, allowing you to easily turn-off the water while soaping-up (some are built-in).
Don’t be a drip! – Fix leaky faucets (saves 20 gallons per day).
Bring on the bubbly! – Install faucet aerators, a great, inexpensive water efficiency measure.
Save the laundry for later! – Wash only full loads of laundry (saves 15-50 gallons per load).
Clean and green! – Use phosphate-free soap and detergent to help improve water quality. It also helps if you plan on installing a gray water recycling system in your home.
Squeaky clean! – Pre-treat clothes to avoid double washing.
Treat yourself! – Replace your old, wasteful water appliances, such as clothes and dish washers with newer Energy Star models (high efficiency clothes washers saves up to 24 gallons per day). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "an Energy Star-labeled clothes washer saves 7,000 gallons of water per year over their 11-year life cycle – or enough to provide a lifetime of drinking water for six people." Check out our rebates that can help!
The early morning stretch... – Water your yard between midnight and 8 a.m. Watering during the coolest hours of the day reduces evaporation and interference from wind (saves 25 gallons per day).
Train your lawn! – No, not "Sit" or "Roll-over"…drought resistant!!! Watering everyday may be training your lawn to grow shallow roots and require excess water. Consult your local nursery. If you are installing a new lawn or reseeding an existing lawn, look into drought resistant native grasses, or artificial turf options. If you can do without a lawn, consider landscaping with low water use natives!
As of January 1, 2010, the City of Orange instituted the Water Efficient Landscapes: Guidelines to promote the use of water conserving landscaping and irrigation in new and rehabilitated landscapes through conservation in design, installation and maintenance. The State mandated requirement apply to all new installations by individual homeowners of single-family or multi-family residential lots equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet. The new standards also apply to rehabilitation projects greater than 2,500 square feet, representing at least 50% of the total landscape area, and planned to occur within one year. If your property has been registered a local, state or federal historic site (either inside or outside Old Towne Orange), it is not subject to the new guidelines. Contact the Planning Department for more information.
Save time and money! – Old sprinkler systems can contribute to more than 50% of your water usage. Install a smart sprinkler or automatic irrigation controller to manage the yard watering for you (saves 40 gallons per day). Install rotating nozzles to manage the watering (saves 3.6 gallons per nozzle per day). Use drip irrigation for the areas not covered by the sprinkler system. We can help! Check out our available rebates for smart timers and rotating nozzles.
Routine inspection – Check your sprinkler system for leaks, overspray and broken sprinkler heads (saves 500 gallons per month).
Reset your sprinkler timers each winter and summer to ensure proper watering.
Synthetic is not pathetic! – New synthetic turf has come a long way. It can look great, last longer, and save water (12.5 gallons per 100 feet per day). Please, do check with the City Planning Division at (714) 744-7220 before you install. Artificial turf may not be allowed in all locations in Orange.
Synthetic turf can heat-up and can also increase the heat around your home... so think about how you use your lawn and whether synthetic turf is right for you. You may want to investigate new innovative applications of radiant heating which allows you to capture the solar heat from your lawn and apply it to your indoor hot water needs.
Mulch! – Using organic mulch around plants reduces evaporation (saves hundreds of gallons per year) Plus... mulch keeps weeds from growing!
Give your yard a facelift! – Xeriscape your yard with native climate appropriate grasses, plants and trees, which require minimal water and fertilizer. As an added bonus, they also require less money and time to maintain. Check with your local nursery for ideas! Check out our water efficient landscaping classes to get you started!
Get in shape! – Use a broom instead of the hose to clean driveways and sidewalks (saves 150 gallons per use).
Wash your car…not the gutter! – When washing your car, use spray nozzles. Don’t let the hose run.
Don’t take a dive on your next water bill! – Use pool and spa covers to reduce evaporation (for an 18' x 36' pool, it saves 900-3,000 gallons per month). It is also important to maintain your pool’s chemical balance to avoid unnecessary draining and cleaning. Don’t forget to plug the overflow line when the pool/spa is in use or when adding water.
Maintenance is key! – Manually cleaning your pool or spa water filter is more efficient than backwashing. You’ll do a better job. It won’t require the same frequency of cleaning. And you could save approximately 250-1000 gallons a shot!
Leaks, Leaks, Leaks! – A leaky pool can be a disaster, damaging equipment and increasing chemical expense from lack of water circulation. Not to mention it’s estimated that a 15' by 30' pool leaking 1 inch per day wastes approximately 102,000 gallons per year! Check your system for leaks.
Check the meter! – Most leaks can be detected by using your meter. Turn-off all water taps in and outside the home. Record the meter reading and double-check it a couple hours later. If the meter has changed you might have a leak. Many meters have a blue or red triangle on the dial, which will indicate leaks by moving when the taps are off. Not sure? Check with the City Water Department. We do outdoor water audits for FREE!
Strrreeetch your water dollar – Find out if a gray water system is right for you! Any water that has been used in the home, except water from toilets, is called gray water. Dish, shower, sink, and laundry water comprise 50-80% of residential "waste" water. This may be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation, the largest residential water use.
To assist you in making your home more water efficient, the City of Orange (in cooperation with the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) offers the following rebates and incentive programs for residential customers. Residents of single-family detached homes, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes are eligible for rebates. Rebates are limited to a first-come first-serve basis and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, including deadlines and a list of approved devices, get smart with SoCal Water $mart or contact our City Public Works Department at (714) 744-5525. Rebates for multi-family units are also available! Visit the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for more information.
Multifamily complexes must have a total of 5 units or more, or be represented by an HOA or Property Management Company with a combined total of 5 units or more, to be eligible. Either tenants or owners can install high efficiency devices in individual units and are eligible to receive the rebate. Community property devices are eligible for rebates as well, but under the "Commercial" rebates program.
Rebates are available for upgrading your irrigation system!
Install rotating nozzles and get a rebate of $3 per nozzle, with installation of a pressure-regulating head.
The City of Orange offers FREE outdoor water audits! Contact the Orange Water Division at (714) 288-2475 or email Tom Taulbee at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. Get on the spot results in 30 minutes!
Attend a FREE California Friendly Landscaping class! Choose from several different classes offered on Saturdays throughout the year. Each class is designed for the non-technical gardener. Participants learn how to identify common water wasting problems in their irrigation system and the best plants to use for southern California landscapes. Examples of classes offered include "Landscape Design Basics", "California Friendly Plants", "Efficient Home Irrigation Systems", and "Soils, Fertilizers and Watering". Space is limited so please contact our City Public Works Department at (714) 744 5551 for a class schedule and class reservations.
The City offers tiered water rates! Use less, spend less! Basic water rates for the City of Orange are based on two charges: a fixed connection fee and a tiered rate structure usage fee. The tiered rate structure usage fee encourages City of Orange residents to conserve water by offering lower water rates to households that use less. Below are the 2008 and 2009 rate structures for each (excluding exception pricing, penalty fees and late service fees). Please visit the City’s Water Rates page for more rate information.
The availability and protection of freshwater is critical to the continued health and progress of California. The City of Orange pledges to be a responsible California partner in the on-going water conservation and water quality effort. Do your part for Orange and for California…BE WATER WISE!