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Water Conservation

Save Our Water

Severe drought conditions continue throughout California

Governor Brown has declared a statewide drought emergency and is asking all Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent. California is experiencing a serious drought and the state will be challenged to meet its water needs in the upcoming year.

Water conservation is always important in California, but this year no Californian can afford to waste any water. We all need to do our part.

As California faces extreme drought conditions, your commitment to conservation is needed now. Making water conservation part of your daily routine will save both water and money every day.

Here are a few easy tips you can follow:

At home

  • Don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing dishes – saves about 2 gallons per minute.
  • Install water-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators – saves 1 gallon per minute.
  • Shorten your shower time – reducing your shower by just 3 minutes can save about 8 gallons of water.
  • Repair toilets and other plumbing leaks ASAP – saves hundreds of gallons per day.
  • Replace older toilets and clothes washers with new water-efficient models. These two fixtures are the largest water users in the home. 
  •  Reduce one load of laundry per week by waiting to run full loads – saves about 20 gallons.


  • Limit landscape watering – twice a week is enough for most gardens.
  • Adjust sprinklers and to minimize overspray and runoff.
  • Add mulch to your landscape - a 2-3" layer of mulch around plants helps retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Water at night or early morning – water between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. to reduce evaporation and water lost due to wind.

Find more tips at WaterSense

As California faces extreme drought conditions, your commitment to conservation is needed now. Making water conservation part of your daily routine will save both water and money every day.

Explore ways to conserve water at your business:


  • ULFT's: Ultra-low-flush toilets (ULFT's) use 1.6 gallons per flush and are much more water efficient than older toilets, which use up to 7 gallons per flush. Each installed ULFT can save 70 gallons a day in water use.
  • HET's: High-Efficiency toilets (HET) flush at least 20% below the US maximum of 1.6 gpf, equating to 1.28 gpf or less. Many HET's are dual-flush toilets, which have two separate flush volume options, a half flush (0.8 gallons) and a full flush (1.6 gallons).
  • Dual-flush handle retrofit for flushvalves: This water saving mechanism retrofits to most existing valves and reduces water volume by up to 30% when activated for half-flush.


  • HEUs: High-Efficiency Urinals (HEUs) are defined as fixtures that function at 0.5-gpf or less. Based on data from studies of actual usage, these urinals save 20,000 gallons of water per year with an estimated 20-year life.
  • Urinal retrofit kit: The flush volume in typical 1.0 gallon per flush urinals can be retrofitted with a 0.5 gpf diaphram kit. This is a great cost-effective way to turn the ultra-low flush urinal into a high-efficiency urinal.

Faucet Aerators and Showerheads
Faucet Aerators and Low-Flow Shower Heads: Installing faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads is one of the most effective water conservation method you can use for your home or office.

  • Faucet Aerators: Standard aerators are devices that are designed to reduce the flow of the water coming out of the faucet while introducing air into the water flow. That is why they are called "aerators". Water has to pass through very small holes and spreads out to cover more surface. If an aerator is already installed on your faucet, it will usually have its rated flow (in gallons per minute or gpm) imprinted on the side. If there appears to be an aerator installed, but there is no flow rate stamped on the side, the aerator may not be a low flow type and should be replaced with a new one. For restroom faucets, the flow rate should be 0.5 gpm or less, and for kitchen faucets and shower heads, the flow rate should be 1.5 gpm or less. If no aerator is visible, check to see if there are threads just inside the tip of the faucet. Most modern faucets are threaded to accept aerators.
  • Some designer faucets have an internal built in "laminar" restrictor. Laminar restrictors work differently than standard faucet aerators by producing dozens of parallel streams of water. You can ask the manufacturer for the flow rate of these faucets or Green Business Program staff can help you measure the flow rate of your unstamped faucet aerators.
  • If your faucets are not threaded for aerators, installing Flow Control Valves or Flow Regulator devices are the best option for reducing flow rates since the flow can be varied to fit the function. Located under the sink, flow control valves go undetected by the faucet user.


  • Dishwashers use at least two times less water than washing by hand.
  • Commercial dishwashers may use less than 3 gallons per cycle. 

High Efficiency Clothes Washers
High Efficiency Clothes Washers (HECWs) utilize technological advances to deliver excellent wash performance while saving both water and energy. Resource efficient models use 35-50% less water and approximately 50% less energy. The water efficiency of clothes washers is rated using the term "water factor" to describe and compare its water use. Water factor is measured by the quantity of water (gallons) used to wash each cubic foot of laundry. A lower water factor represents greater water and energy efficiency.

Ice Machines
Ice Machines Water-cooled ice machines use far more water and energy than air-cooled models.

Pre-Rinse Spray Valves
Pre-Rinse Spray Valves A low-flow pre-rinse spray valve is one of the easiest and most cost effective energy saving devices available to the foodservice operator. In addition to minimizing water consumption, water heating energy and sewer charges are also reduced. Pre-rinse spray valves can use as little as 0.65 gallons per minute compared with older models that use 3 or more gallons per minute.

Learn How To Read Your Water Meter
There are several reasons why your business should be able to locate and read your water meter. By reading your meter at the beginning and the end of the day you can determine how much water your business has used. You can also use the reading to check for leaks.

Detect Leaks
Once you figure out how to read the water meter, you can use it to detect leaks, notice sudden spikes in usage, and monitor daily usage.

Water Pressure
When water pressure is too high it wastes water and causes stress to pipes and fixtures. Water should enter the property at 45 to 60 pounds of pressure per square inch (psi). Water pressure over 60 psi can cause a strain on your plumbing fixtures or pipes and can even cause bursts in the water line. Pressure in excess of 80 psi may void warranties in some appliances and fixtures.

Water-Efficient Landscaping
This refers to the conservation of water through landscaping. With water considered an expensive and limited resource, all landscaping projects, residential or commercial, can benefit from this alternative and almost any landscaping style can be achieved.

Water Wise House Calls, Free Devices and Rebates are available to customers supplied by customers supplied by California American Water.

For more information on these programs see:

Water Wise House Calls

Residents – both homeowners and renters – are eligible for a free program that will help you save water and money. With just a phone call, a friendly, certified conservation expert will visit your home to identify ways you can save water both indoors and out. Contact the California American Water conservation staff today at (831) 646-3205 to make an appointment for this valuable service.

Free Devices

California American Water and the MPWMD offer customers free water-saving devices including low-flow showerheads, sink aerators, hose nozzles, timers and more!

  • Showerheads
  • Kitchen faucet aerators
  • Bathroom faucet aerators
  • Hand-held showerheads
  • Automatic shut-off hose nozzles (positive action or trigger nozzles)
  • Hose timers
  • Dye tablets
  • Rain sensors for automatic irrigation systems
  • Shower timers
  • Soil moisture sensors
  • Water wise gardening for Monterey County CD
  • Rain gauges


Rebates for customers supplied by California American Water are available for purchasing and installing water saving devices when funding is available.

  • High Efficiency Toilet
  • Ultra High Efficiency Toilet
  • High Efficiency Residential Dishwasher
  • High Efficiency Residential Clothes Washer
  • Instant-Access Hot Water System On-demand pump or point of source water heater

Detecting Leaks

If your water bill suddenly increases, but you haven't changed the way you use water, chances are you have a leak within your property. Leaks can waste several or even hundreds of gallons a day, so it's good preventive maintenance to check for leaks within your property once or twice a year.

Common residential leaks include:

  • Your toilet. It is not uncommon to lose more than 100 gallons a week to a toilet leak. You can check for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank, then watch for a few minutes. If the color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak that needs to be repaired.
  • Dishwashers and clothes washer. Look for drips or stains underneath or behind these appliances.
  • Indoor and outdoor faucets. Replace worn gaskets and washers.
  • Sprinkler systems. Check for damaged sprinkler system heads and system leaks.

Leak detection kits are available by calling the American Water Customer Service Center at 1-800-678-6301 or click here.

Free Water Conservation Audits

Cal Am’s Water Wise House Call program can assist those customers with identifying any potential leaks. and give advice on improving water efficiency at home. Click the link to learn more about the Water-Wise House Calls Program and set up an appointment or call: (831) 646-3205.

Leak Calculator

Use the American Water Works Association’s Water Wiser Drip Calculator to measure and estimate water wasted due to leaks.