El Dorado Hills - Homes & News - DeeDee Riley Realtor: Water Conservation - 7 Easy Things We Can Do

Water Conservation - 7 Easy Things We Can Do

Our days without rain are up to 49 and counting in the Sacramento Valley and according to the weather stations there is still no rain in site for at least the next 10 days.  I have lived in El Dorado Hills since 1996 and have never seen Folsom Lake so low. I've heard it is down to 18% capacity. We are in trouble!

Though Folsom Lake doesn't provide the water we use in El Dorado Hills, our reservoirs are feeling the drought as well and residents have been asked by our El Dorado Irrigation District for voluntary water conservation.   Here are a 7 easy things we can do to conserve our precious resource:

1. Check your timer box to your outdoor irrigation. Turn off your irrigation system for the winter or irrigate your landscape only one time per week if needed. *Ordinarily brown lawns might make us think "tightwad" or over the last few years "foreclosure", but now's your chance to save some money and be looked at like you are doing your part for water conservation!

Water Conservation - 7 Easy Things We Can Do

2. Be sure to check all of your drip irrigation heads for leaks and shooters. Even one drip line that has become detached from its emitter can waste many gallons of water on just one cycle. Also, check your lawn heads to be sure you're watering your lawn and not the sidewalks and streets. With the ground temps still very cold, you only need to water your lawn maybe twice a week for 3-4 minutes per station.

3. When you turn your shower on and you're waiting for the water to get hot, use a bucket and catch all of the cold water. You can use this water to feed plants or fill up your pet bowls.

4. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth or shaving.

5. Only use your washer and dish washer when full. Also, most newer washers and dish washers have cycles that are shorter and conserve water. Be sure that you are using those cycles.

6. If you must wash your car, please use a nozzle that only releases water when you squeeze it.

 7. Use a blower or broom verses washing down driveways and patios.

If you haven't already, start thinking about water conservation and these 7 easy things we can do.  Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. Drop by drop, gallon by gallon, in numbers it can make a difference. 




DeeDee Riley - El Dorado Hills Realtor - Lyon Real Estate - CABRE#01499004


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Comment balloon 33 commentsDeeDee Riley • January 24 2014 05:42PM


Excellent DeeDee.  When you live in the high desert like Albuquerque water is like liquid gold and is not to be wasted.  The Water Cops are working the beat 24/7 to make sure everyone conserves water in our area.

Posted by John McCormack, AlbuquerqueHomes.com, Albuquerque Homes Realty (Albuquerque Homes Realty * www.AlbuquerqueHomes.com) over 4 years ago

This are great tips and I hope that some rain will come your way soon.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 4 years ago

DeeDee our governor has declared a drought emergency. Home owners might want to consider water-wise landscaping if their city or HOA permits it. Many cities are on board with it. Saves gallons of water every year.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 4 years ago

DeeDee, California is so dry, and hope you get some rain soon, so fires don't start everywhere!     Great advice for saving water!

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) over 4 years ago

Good idea about the shower. For me, bathroom on second floor. Won't quite work.

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846 (Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330) over 4 years ago

Great tips. You need to do whatever is necessary. Hope it won't be long now for rain.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 4 years ago

How about most of these folks giving up their swimming pools?

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 4 years ago

We have reach water levels that I hope people will begin to follow these water conservation tips DeeDee! Great post!

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 4 years ago

My son and I were driving from San Diego to Seattle a couple of months ago. We couldn't believe how low and dry Lake Shasta was looking. I don't ever remember seeing it so dry. Kinda erie.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor (CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS) over 4 years ago

Hi DeeDee-these are all great tips that we in CA need to heed. Thanks.  I started using my 5-gallon bucket under the shower head last week, and I removed all sod and planted CA natives about 7 years ago.  Another (weird) tip:  Lots and lots of guys (more than 50%--yes I studied this issue because it's a pet peeve) flush a public urinal before using it.  I guess they don't want to mix their pee with the previous guy's pee.  That's a complete and needless waste of water that has really bugged me since the last drought.  Please ask your husband about it, and tell him to stop it if he does it.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) over 4 years ago

That is timely advice for those of us affected by the drought here in California.  I was out in my yard today dealing with some of those issues.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 4 years ago

Great list that we could all use.  Especially in California.  Unfortunately winter doesn't feel like winter when most days are in mid seventies.

Posted by Sharon Sanchez, Your Number "1" Source For Real Estate. (Ace Home Realty) over 4 years ago


Thanks for raising awareness on a subject vital to eveyone. Even when we have rain we'll need to recharge the reservoirs we can see as well as the acquifers we can't see. 

My suggestion is to "gamify" water reduction and avoid becoming a scold or "water cop." Turn water conservation into a friendly competition. For example, our city is one of the few municipal electrical systems in the US. Each month we can compare our electricity consumption with the average in the neighborhood as well as the lowest. (Note this is anonymized data, nobody knows who is lowest - unless it's our house.)

Invite the neighbors to compare water usage and saving ideas to see who can reduce the greatest amount each month or billing cycle.

Share hints when you're holding open houses, door knocking, or just talking with  neighbors. Remember to make it fun and storylike, "You won't believe how the Pollywog family reduced water use...," rather than becoming the scold people want to avoid. Try this same level of tact with HOAs. "What if we continued watering the trees and shrubs to keep them healthy but let the lawns go brown?"


Posted by Kirk Knight (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 4 years ago

We average 8 inches of rain per year here in El Paso and have been very good at conserving water in our region. We have water restrictions year round for watering yards and occasionaly we have to implement more stringent measures in drought years. 

Here is a link to our conservation web page

Posted by Rick Snow - Selling El Paso TX, Cool Deals on Hot Real Estate in El Paso, Texas (EXIT West Realty) over 4 years ago

Unfortunately, water conservation awareness is ineffective unless it's tied to the cost of using unnecessary water. We could all conserve water when it becomes prohibitively costly. Our water company has 3 penalty phases after a household maximizes their initial base of water use. The more water you use the higher the bill, so keeping usage down is dependent on how much you value keeping more of the money you earn, doesn't it?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 4 years ago

The last time I looked the planet is 2/3 water! The government is using this as another excuse to regulate and control its citizens!

Are they willing to pay to replace my dead lawn if I don't water it (see footnote*)?

Don't let them do this to us! DEMAND that they provide fresh water immediately, regardless of the rainfall.

Many countries do not have ample supply of potable water (Israel is one example) so the government constructed desalinization plants to provide fresh water to its citizens. The last time I looked, the US is surrounded by two oceans, one gulf and 5 lakes. Who the hell are they kidding? No water? Riiiight.

This reminded me of our local cities banning plastic shopping bags because it clogged up the sewer filters and they claimed it's a pain in the a** to clean them. Because these lazy government workers didn't want to do their job, we now have to bring our own bag to the grocery store.

Why do these bureaucrats blame us for their lack of planning when every few years California goes through a "drought"? They should be prepared to handle it! That's why we elected them!

Keep believing what they say. Remember, when you hear a bureaucrat say: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you!" you better run in the opposite direction. 

Most people haven't the time to research what the true facts are and they believe whatever the government says because if it comes from them, it must be true.


* An HOA cited one of the homeowners of a single family homes for letting their lawn turn brown and adversely affect the community property values. Go figure.

Posted by Peter Rozsa (Cupertino, CA) over 4 years ago


You forgot to include your sarcasm font. You are being sarcastic, aren't you?

Posted by Kirk Knight (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 4 years ago

Until that high pressure front off the coast breaks, we're screwed.  

Kirk, sadly he's not.  He forgot or maybe he doesn't know that we built a bunch of cities in the freaking desert.  And just in case anyone forgot, Los Angeles was desert too.  They can't dump all of the water to the public right now just because Peter hates politicians.  What if it doesn't rain in 2015 either.  Then what?  He forget how angry Northern California gets when we have to conserve while our water goes to Southern California and they can water their lawns and wash their cars?  That's a deal the City of San Francisco made years ago with Hetch Hetchy.  There isn't a thing we can do about that.  But let's just drain all the lakes and rivers and not grow any food because Peter thinks it's being manipulated by politicians.  

I said several years ago that water was going to be our next big problem.  Here we are.  We are dumping drinking water on our lawns while subsahara Africa dies of dehydration.  

We really need to look at ourselves and how we utilize our resources and be more responsible to the planet we share.  

Posted by Valerie Crowell, Broker Associate (Keller Williams) over 4 years ago

Capturing cold shower water is so easy.  What a great idea.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 4 years ago

Good information, the area where I live has drought conditions at times as well.  I really like the one about collecting the cold water while the shower is warming up. 

Posted by Cathy Wolters, Your Brevard County Property Management Expert (Wolters Realty & Property Management Company) over 4 years ago

Also do not forget to check your toilets and facets for proper working order. A leaking toilet can go through hundreds of gallons a day as can a dripping faucet.

Posted by Bill Morrow, Bill Morrow, Associate Broker (Keller Williams of Central PA) over 4 years ago

People wouldn't be so wasteful with water if the price of water went up dramatically when the supply was low.

Posted by Raymond Denton, Simple Man (Academy Mortgage Corporation) over 4 years ago

So sorry for your lack of rain - and so glad that water usage isn't an issue where I live. We not only have plenty, it's good, clean water that hasn't been exposed to pollutants - or to treatment to remove the gunk.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 4 years ago

Thanks all for your comments and suggestions!  Seeing Folsom Lake, there is no dought of the severity of our current situation.  Please see my latest post with pictures.

Folsom Lake - January 25, 2014

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 4 years ago

For those of us who are data driven, here's a very recent report 

<a href="http://californiawaterfoundation.org/uploads/1389391749-Watersmart_evaluation_report_FINAL_12-12-13(00238356).pdfs">"Evaluation of East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Pilot of WaterSmart Home WaterReports."</a>

It has data that reducing water use about 5% can be quickly done with basic awareness. Reducing more requires some serious changes. It also breaks down desalination costs.

"Recent cost estimates for five proposed desalination projects in Southern California range from $1,191 to $2,340 per acre-foot (California Natural Resources Agency, 2013) "

"The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) estimates the implicit cost of water supply from proposed new conveyance for the Delta at between $500 to $700* range per acre-foot …after factoring the fully burdened costs."

So desalinated water is 400-600% more expensive.


Posted by Kirk Knight (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 4 years ago

(fixed link)

For those of us who are data driven, here's a very recent report "Evaluation of East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Pilot of WaterSmart Home WaterReports."

It has data that reducing water use about 5% can be quickly done with basic awareness. Reducing more requires some serious changes.

"Recent cost estimates for five proposed desalination projects in Southern California range from $1,191 to $2,340 per acre-foot (California Natural Resources Agency, 2013) 

"The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) estimates the implicit cost of water supply from proposed new conveyance for the Delta at between $500 to $700* range per acre-foot …after factoring the fully burdened costs."

So desalinated water is 400-600% more expensive

Posted by Kirk Knight (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 4 years ago

I bet the dripping faucets are the biggest offenders. Many people don't realize they're dripping and how much they're dripping. Great post DeeDee!

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 4 years ago

Landscaping can account for up to 30% of household drinkable water, plant local plants, use a water sensor on irrigation, use drip irrigation, use a rain water collection system.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) over 4 years ago

My sister planted her house with drought resistant landscaping and grass. Looks very nice.

Posted by Christine Faye Goolsby, PA, As a fourth generation Floridian, I know Florida (Keller Williams Realty of Port St Lucie) over 4 years ago

Was sad to hear the other day how severe the drought was in the Sacramento area.  We are dry here in the Midwest as well.  We need to get our rain dance shoes on!!

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) over 4 years ago

I'm with you sister!  Been conserving water for a long time.  Try to get others to do so as well.

Posted by Marsha Cash (RE/MAX Advantage) over 4 years ago

Dee Dee:

Thanks for the great tips.  If it ever rains we will still have to preserve our water supplies.  It will take a long time to fill our reservoirs to capacity.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 4 years ago

You can use bio friendly soap and get a grey water system for your lawn and garden.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 4 years ago