San Rafael resident Lonner Holden says he has two primary "MOs" when it comes to saving water: 1) Never let a faucet run or use it at full pressure, and 2) Try to use the same water more than once before it goes down the drain. Following these simple strategies, his household of two has been able to reduce their total daily water use—including bathroom, kitchen, laundry, garden, and cleaning—to about 50 gallons per day. How does Lonner make this happen? He’s happy to share his tips here.
- Lonner installed a showerhead with an on/off button so the water can be easily switched off while lathering up. He also keeps a 2-gallon bucket in the shower to catch stray drips and reuses that water to flush the toilet.
- Since high water pressure can cause faucets and showerheads to use more water, Lonner uses the shower at 1/2 pressure. (Installing a pressure compensating showerhead can help a low-pressure shower feel luxurious.)
- Instead of waiting for the shower to warm up, Lonner opts for cold showers, which he believes are better for his health anyway. When guests visit, Lonner does the dishes or laundry first so there's already warm water in the pipes before guests shower.
- With the benefit of a window next to the clothes washer, Lonner was able to run a drain line out to the garden for watering plants. (If you're considering a similar "laundry-to-landscape" system, check out MMWD's rebates up to $50 for system components.)
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- Lonner lets dishes soak so they require less water for cleaning, nestling the smaller dishes in the larger so the water in the top one gets used by the next one underneath, and on down the line.
- He minimizes running the disposal by collecting food scraps for the compost or green bin. When he must use the disposal, he runs it with the wash/rinse water from doing the dishes instead of sending clean water down the drain.
- When using the steamer for cooking, he uses less than 1" of water so it heats up quicker, saving both water and energy.