The drought in California isn’t new, but it definitely is not getting any better. Here, on Catalina Island, we feel the effects of the dry weather in Southern California with full force. The lack of rain is magnified on the island, as our reservoir gets smaller and smaller, and substantial rain is not in the forecast. At CIMI, we have been doing our fair share to cut down on the amount of fresh water we use, from installing low-flow faucets, toilets and shower heads, to reducing the amount of water used in our kitchen. Even on the dive deck, we are filling our foot rinse bins with saltwater and promote the CIMI challenge to opt out from showering while you’re at camp! Here’s a few ways you can help reduce your freshwater usage, on the island or off—
- Turn off the water when you’re not actually using it! This may sound silly but people forget that while brushing their teeth, washing their hands, or taking a shower, you don’t always need the water on. Turn the water off while you’re shampooing or while your toothbrush is scrubbing away.
- Install low-flow faucets and shower heads. People don’t realize how much water they use when showering. In one minute alone, a shower can use 5-10 gallons of water! Installing low-flow shower heads will reduce that number to 2.5 gallons or less per minute. In your sinks, low-flow faucets are a great replacement as well. This will help to preserve our fresh water and save money on your water bill.
- Reduce your energy consumption! Reducing the amount of energy you use also reduces water usage. Energy production accounts for the second highest use of freshwater, after agriculture. Anything from turning off the lights to driving less will help with our water crisis.
- Wash full loads of clothes and dishes. Make sure that when you run the dishwasher or washing machine, it is full. Doing laundry is a huge contributor to water use in homes. Save energy and save water! Small and large loads of laundry use about the same amount of energy. Additionally, 90% of the energy that washers use is for heating water, so wash your laundry on cold.
- Recycle your water! While larger scale changes can be made, like using grey water to flush your toilets, any recycling of water is helpful. After you make pasta or boil veggies, use the remaining water for your plants. Outside, create a simple rainwater catchment system or divert your gutters to water your yard. Remember, drought resistant plants are a great substitute for traditional lawns!
Written By: Jaclyn Lucas