California Forum

Basic steps to save water

Conservation has long been a part of life in Los Angeles, but truth be told, residents of the Sacramento area use many more gallons per person, per day. Under state law, urban water systems must reduce per capita water use by 20 percent by 2020. As the drought continues, we asked readers: What more should the city of Sacramento, residents and businesses be doing to conserve water?


Buckets in the shower

Re “City saves water, finally” (Forum, Foon Rhee, Feb. 23): Because of the drought, I have installed a low-flow toilet. I do not flush it after every use. Am I there yet?

There are two 5-gallon buckets in the shower. One catches the cool water while waiting for the hot water. The other catches the gray water. The clean water goes to the garden, the other goes to flush the toilet. Am I there yet?

Next to the bathroom sink are two cups, one for rinsing my toothbrush, the other for rinsing my mouth. Am I there yet?

How can I tell if I have cut water consumption by 20 percent? We do not have water meters. Are we there yet?

– Patrick Powers, Sacramento

Where’s the fairness?

Water use is not waste. Washing dishes and clothes, showering, flushing toilets, watering lawns are normal activities, not waste. In times of drought they may need curtailment due to a supply shortage, but Sacramento has two rivers and should not normally require living like being in a desert, just so those who do can have more water from us.

Simple, direct use of water meters and tiered water rates are not fair ways to identify or curtail water waste, as they are based only on amount, not considering actual individual living needs, apartment or house, family size, lot size, etc.

Required percent cutbacks harm those who already conserve, but are easy for gross users. With tiered rates the rich can afford to waste, while the rest may suffer. For fairness, allocation amounts must be included in these based on individual living needs.

This is in progress in the Monterey area.

– Bill Jurkovich, Citrus Heights


Monica Brooks – Get rid of lawns! Everyone should go to drought-friendly landscaping.

Ryan Davis – Farming uses the most water. That is where we should start.

Daniel Lee Kiesman Jr. – Gray water: tanks for lawns and gardens.

Chris Hodapp – Desalination. Many countries live on desal water. Then free the rivers for wildlife and farmers.

Janet Thew – Ask your elected reps why they are still approving new development left and right, and ask your water district why it is allowing all the new hookups. The districts don’t have to allow them. They will serve letters that they reserve the right to forbid new hookups in a drought emergency. So why aren’t water districts doing so? Politics. Developers have money, and you don’t.

Scott Michael Boyles – Make L.A. use water from the ocean. Desalination. Canals going south are full to the brim, but our rivers are going empty. Seems backwards to me. That frustrates me more than anything with this drought. It’s not being handled well by the government. Residents need to conserve of course, but I saw several Sacramento-area government buildings watering their already bright green lawns in the middle of our last rainstorm. Seriously?!

Wendi Tanisha Miller – Meters on all your buildings and homes. Sacramento residents are some of the largest consumers of water per capita in California.

Paula Marie Gardner – Overall I hear Sacramento is doing pretty well! L.A. is, well, another story. They love to blame us for using too much water.

Annette Mackin – We can’t blame Southern California for our own wastefulness. The average Southern California family uses about 130 gallons of water a day. Northern California families average 280 gallons a day. Southern California made changes after the last drought. Now it is our turn.