Seasonal Safety

Drought Preparedness & Water Conservation

California is experiencing a serious drought and the state will be challenged to meet its water needs in the upcoming year.  

Rethinking the way we use water – both indoors and outdoors – will help stretch California’s limited supplies and ensure water is there when we need it.   

If we all work together, we can make a difference for our state’s future.


  • Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. Use it to water your indoor plants or garden.
  • Make sure your home is leak-free. Take a reading of the water meter. Wait 30 minutes without using any water and then take a second reading. If the meter reading changes, you have a leak!
  • Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers.


  • Take shorter showers.
  • Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
  • Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water for watering plants.
  • Don't let the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving.


  • Operate dishwashers only when they are full. Use the "light wash" feature.
  • When hand washing dishes, save water by filling two containers - one with soapy water and the other with rinse water containing a small amount of chlorine bleach.
  • Don’t use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator, or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  • Don’t waste water waiting for it to get hot or cold. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering.
  • Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water. Start a compost pile as an alternate way to dispose of food waste.

Outdoor Water Conservation Tips

Lawn Care

  • Don't overwater your lawn. Lawns only need to be watered every 5-7 days in the summer, and every 10 to 14 days in the winter.
  • Water in several short sessions rather than one long one in order for your lawn to better absorb moisture.
  • Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas.
  • Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly. Set a timer to remind yourself to turn manual sprinklers off.

In the Community

  • Participate in public water conservation meetings conducted by your local government, utility or water management district. Support projects that lead to an increased use of reclaimed wastewater.
  • WaterSmart is a great local resource hosted by San Diego County Water Authority.
  • Follow water conservation and water shortage rules in effect, which may limit hours or prohibit use of water for certain tasks.
  • Patronize businesses that practice water conservation, such as restaurants that only serve water upon request.

For more information, pleasecontact your local water authority or utility district, or your local emergency management agency for information specific to your community.

Copyright (c) 2017 American Red Cross - San Diego Imperial Counties Chapter