How Much Water Do You Use?

It has been found that the average California home uses 384 gallons of water daily, indoors and out. The average apartment or condominium uses 256 gallons daily.  And a single individual uses about 150 gallons a day, including outdoor watering.

Conservation is an effort we can practice every day. With just a little adjustment to your normal activities, like shorter showers or turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, you can save water and money.

Outdoor Checklist

Try some of these easy tips to help save water around your home and in your neighborhood. You can also print this list to keep a copy as a reminder or to share with neighbors!


  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalk.  Save 10-15 gallons per minute.
  • Repair leaking outdoor faucets and hose bib.  Save 15-20 gallons per day.
  • Repair leaks around spa and spa pump.  Save 20 gallons per day per leak.
  • If you have water pressure reducers, set them between 40-60 psi.  Water savings vary with pressure but can be significant.
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles wash water.  Save 200+ gallons per wash.
  • If you wash your car at home, use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end.  Save 150 gallons each time.
  • Rinse water can help water the grass.
  • If you have an evaporative air conditioner, direct the water drain line to a flower bed, tree base, or lawn.


  • Install an automatic shut-off nozzle on your hose.  Save 10-15 gallons per minute.
  • Install covers on spas to reduce evaporation.  Save 30 gallons per day, depending on square footage.
  • Install a water pressure reducer if your current water pressure exceeds 80 psi.  Water savings vary with pressure but can be significant.

Outside the Home

  • Water your plants in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • Use multiple start times or a “cycle and soak” feature. This allows water to be applied a little at a time, eliminating run-off, and is especially helpful for sloped areas and areas with clay soil.
  • Aim before you shoot. Direct sprinklers toward your lawn and away from sidewalks and driveways.
  • Water your plants 1 to 2 days a week instead of 5 days a week. Saves up to 840 gallons per week
  • Check your sprinkler system for leaks, overspray and broken sprinkler heads and repair promptly. Saves up to 500 gallons per month
  • Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • Spreading a layer of organic mulch or slow release fertilizer around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money while promoting a healthy and drought tolerant landscape.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
  • If water runs off your plants easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • Rather than following a set watering schedule, check the root zone of your plants or garden for moisture before watering using a spade or trowel. If it’s still moist two inches under the soil surface, you have enough water. If the top two to three inches of soil is dry, it’s time to water.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your plants are watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
  • Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining.
  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it’s needed.
  • Don’t water your plants on windy days when most of the water blows away orevaporates.
  • Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  • Consider hydrozoning. It is the practice of separating beds and turfs that have separate watering needs into different zones. This allows for you to consider not only the different water needs of plants, but also differences in sunny and shaded areas.
  • Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case it malfunctions or you get an unexpected rain.
  • Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons a minute.
  • Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  • Consult with your local nursery for information on plant selection and placement for optimum outdoor water savings.
  • Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape for automatic water savings.
  • Use a hose nozzle while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
  • Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
  • Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  • Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
  • Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  • Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. One inch of water on one square foot of grass equals two-thirds of a gallon of water.