What You Can Do Right Now

Responsible behavior with regard to the environment begins with you. Conserve wherever, however you can.

Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving.

When taking a bath, put the stopper in the drain immediately. Adjust water temperature as tub fills.

Use a hose equipped with an on-off nozzle to wash your car.

Use a broom instead of a hose where possible to clean driveways, sidewalks, and walkways.

Fix leaky faucets and install low-flow aerators on them.

Do not rinse dishes in the dishwasher; run the dishwasher only when fully loaded.

Replace old flush toilets with high-efficiency models that use less than 1.3 gallons per flush and perform better.

Modernize with a front-loading washing machine, which uses less water, energy, and detergent than top-loading machines. In the future, it could be mandated.

Swap out your thirsty grass lawn for less water-using gardens.

Use a smart irrigation control system for watering your lawn or garden, so that you water in the coolest parts of the day and do not waste water when it rains.

Be cognizant of every flush and consider the mantra: “If it’s brown, flush it down. If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”

Eat less beef. Every hamburger requires 16,000 liters of water to produce.

Buy more locally grown fruits and vegetables. Processed food and beverages and premade meals cost more water to produce than food straight from the farm.

Be aware of what you bring home and where it’s going to end up when you’re done with it, especially chemicals. Consider seriously if you really need it.

Test everything that you are contemplating—whether it’s a business deal or working for a piece of legislation—by asking: Does it contribute to the common good?

Junk the junk mail and be persistent about being taken off catalog lists.

Do not dump chemicals into the drain.

Do not pour unused paint into the sewer system.

Vote for people who value environmental resources.

Conservation is crucial and it makes a difference. If each American household reduced by one-third its water use, it would result in a savings of $18 billion annually. In the greater Los Angeles area, the population served by the regional water district has increased more than 4 million since 1990. But water consumption levels remain the same, because of the changes people have made.

By conserving water, you will cut back on electricity costs because getting clean water to your home requires energy. If one in every 100 American homes installed water-efficient structures this year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, we’d save enough coal-generated electricity to remove 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year—equivalent to removing nearly 15,000 cars from the road each year.