Water Efficiency Tips

Outdoor Efficiency

Water Conservation Tips

  • Try planting drought-tolerant and regionally adapted plants in areas that are hard to water or that receive little use. This may include narrow strips near sidewalks or driveways and steep hills. Poppy Opens in new window
  • Cover pools and spas to avoid evaporation
  • Sweep your driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of spraying them off with a hose
  • Check outdoor faucets, pipes, hoses, and pools for leaks
  • Change your lawn mower to a 3-inch clipping height and try not to cut off more than one-third of the grass height when you mow
  • Consider replacing infrequently used lawn areas with low-water use plants or ground covers
  • Apply as little fertilizer to your lawn as possible. Applying excess fertilizer increases water consumption and actually creates more mowing for you! Use iron-based fertilizers to simply “green-up” your lawn instead.
  • Recycle and reuse the water in fountains and other ornamental water fixtures
  • Check the level in your pool using a grease pencil. Your pool shouldn’t lose more than 1/4 inch each day. If it is losing more than this, check elsewhere for leaks.
  • Avoid bursting or freezing pipes by winterizing your outdoor spigots

Tips from the University of California Riverside

Adjust Irrigation

Irrigation controllers are commonly used to set start times, frequency and duration of a home's sprinkler or drip system. Over-irrigation is very common, most home landscapes irrigation times and frequencies can be reduced by 20 to 40 percent with little to no effects on landscaping.

Irrigation Adjustment Tips

  • Gradually reduce water use by 10 percent increments over the course of a few weeks - giving lawns, trees and plants time to adjust
  • Find your irrigation controller manual online
  • Install a "Smart" irrigation controller which automatically adjusts using current weather data, historical weather patterns and/or soil moisture sensor
  • Check for and repair leaks
  • Adjust sprinkler heads to maximize coverage. Avoid watering sidewalks and patios
  • Install a drip irrigation system, grouping plants with similar water needs together on one drip irrigation line

Irrigation Scheduling Worksheet: 

Calculate lawn and landscaping needs using the Irrigation Scheduling Worksheet from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis. This worksheet will generate an annual calendar to irrigate a single hydrozone based on local historical evapotranspiration (ET), distribution uniformity (DU) assessment information, soil type, and desired soil wetting depth. The worksheet will also accommodate irrigation that is restricted to specific days of the week (designated irrigation days). You can access the worksheet by visiting UCR's website directly at the California Garden Web website.

Lawn Watering

A lawn is almost always the single largest user of water in the home landscape, over-irrigation is very common. Homeowners should adjust lawn irrigation systems monthly in response to changes in temperature and weather. Calculate your turf's exact water needs using the three easy steps outlined below.

Water-saving Lawn Tips: 

  • Replace nonessential turf with ground covers, mulches, or decks and walkways
  • Water at night, ideally between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. - helps reduce evaporation and wind interference with sprinkler patterns
  • Mow lawn higher during very warm weather

Pool Leak Bucket Test

To determine if your pool has a leak, try this simple, at-home bucket test using items found around your house. 

Gather the following supplies and then watch this video for a do-it-yourself leak test:

  • Clear bucket
  • Marker, or
  • Water-proof tape

If you think you have a leak, contact a pool professional. 


Demonstration Projects

Rainbow Canyon Homeowner's Association converted over 96,945 square feet of non-functional turf to low-watering California-native plants. The site incorporates public safety through sound water management by removing the potential for slipping due to over-watering and run-off. View pictures and progress via the Rainbow Canyon Homeowner's Association Irrigation System Retrofit (PDF).

Poppy Opens in new windowFind more galleries of demonstration gardens and plants types at Temecula Murrieta In Bloom.

Indoor Efficiency

Water Conservation Tips

  • Perform annual maintenance and check for and fix any leaks you find.
  • Wash only full loads in your washing machine or adjust the water level to reflect the size of the load.
  • Pay attention to your water bill and log into your account to track your water usage
  • Purchase appliances that offer water- and energy-efficient cycle options.
  • Fix leaky plumbing fixtures, faucets, and appliances in the house.
  • Show children how to turn off the faucets completely after each use.
  • Locate your master water shut-off valve so that water can be saved if a pipe bursts.
  • Install aerators on every faucet. This could save you as much as 1 gallon every minute you use them.
  • Be aware! Listen for drips and leaks around the house.