It’s been two decades since water officials have asked the public to cut back this much on water consumption. But with reservoirs at just a third of capacity and rain a rarity aside from the last couple weeks, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) is asking residents to dial down water use by 20 percent. If that seems like a tall order, suck it up and remember that this is the worst drought in 40 years. SCVWD spokesman Marty Grimes suggests no-cost fixes like using a broom instead of a hose to clean sidewalks and watering the lawn before 5am before the sun soaks up all the moisture. If money’s no option, install low-flow faucets and toilets, which can be subsidized with district rebates. Pat Ferraro, a water policy wonk and ex-director of the SCVWD, has a few more pointers: catch cold shower water to re-use in the garden, get a free faucet aerator from the water district and put food scraps in a compost bin instead of the garbage disposal.
For more tips, go to www.save20gallons.org.