A shelter-in-place order is in effect for all Alameda County residents. City facilities are closed and non-essential meetings and events are cancelled.  Find more information here.

What You Can Do To Reduce Water Use

Water Conservation Tips 
The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) recommends individuals strive to use only 35 gallons per person per day indoors. Below are some useful ways to reduce water waste.

  • Know your usage.
    • Use EBMUD’s home water use calculator to determine how 
      much water you actually use each day. You can also calculate your home's water, energy and climate footprint and discover ways you can reduce your impact.
  • Find and fix leaks.
    • Uncover those sneaky leaks and water-wasting fixtures with EBMUD’s free WaterSmart Home Survey Kit.  
    • Check these links and add if helpful: 
      •  Learn how to check for leaks. 
      •  View our easy steps with this short video. 
  • Want extra assistance? Check out offerings from EBMUD.

Indoor Water Use

  • Bathroom
    • Toilets
      • If you are in the market for a new toilet, switch to a high-efficiency model and make sure to cash in on rebates offered by EBMUD. Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste.
      • Can’t replace your toilet? Install a toilet dam or displacement device (bag or bottle filled with water) to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Make sure installation does not interfere with the operating parts.
      • When you hear a toilet running or a faucet dripping, fix it as soon as possible. Leaks can waste hundreds of gallons of day, especially the silent toilet leaks that can go unnoticed. To be sure your toilet isn't leaking, use toilet dye tablets or food coloring in the toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there's a leak. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available, and easily installed.
      • Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket. This requires additional flushes and also clogs up sewer systems, which are only designed for paper and human waste.
    • Showers
      • When replacement is necessary, install low-flow showerheads. Showerheads can be provided to you for free by EBMUD. Fill out and complete a home survey to have a low flow showerhead shipped to you!
      • Take shorter showers and turn off the water while washing your hair. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.
      • While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch that water in a container to use on your outside plants, to flush your toilet or soak dishes.
      • Showers use less water than baths. When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills. Fill the bathtub halfway or less. 
    • Sinks
      • Don't let the water run while brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your face or hands. 
      • Install aerators on bathroom faucets. Aerators are free from EBMUD. Fill out and complete a home survey to have an aerator shipped to you!
  •  Laundry
      • If you are in the market for a new washing machine, switch to a high-efficiency model and cash in on rebates offered by EBMUD.
      • Only wash full loads of laundry, or match the water level to the size of the load.
      • By washing dark clothes with cold water, you are saving water, energy, and helping your clothes retain their color.
      • Consider hiring a plumber to reroute the grey water from your washer-dryer to plants and trees rather than to the sewer. 
  • Kitchen
    •  Washing
      • If you wash dishes by hand—and that’s the best way—don’t leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, get a wash basin. Use a spray device or short blasts instead of letting the water run. Also, try to use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes the rinse water needed.
      • If you use a dishwasher, only wash full loads of dishes. Make sure to hand scrape into the compost before loading the dishwasher.
      • Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan. Collect the water and use it on house plants.
      • Soak dirty pots and pans instead of cleaning with running water.
      • Replace your old faucet aerators with more efficient models. Aerators are free from EBMUD. Fill out and complete a home survey to have an aerator shipped to you! 
      • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost food waste. Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly.
      • Don't rinse containers for recycling – if you turn it over and no food falls out, it’s ready for the recycle bin. 

    Dont Rinse Recyclables

    •  Food & Drink
      • Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary. 
      • Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps to retain more nutrients.
      • Don’t defrost frozen foods with running water; place frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave.
      • Keep a pitcher of tap water in the refrigerator instead of running tap water to cool it for drinking.
      • If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a houseplant instead.

          Lose Your Lawn Insert

Outdoor Water Use

For many homes, 50% or more of daily water use is used for lawns and outdoor landscaping. Below are some tips to reduce your outdoor water usage.

  • Current State Regulations:
    • Use an auto-shutoff spray nozzle on your garden hose. 
    • Water no more than two non-consecutive days per week 
    • Water only before 9 am or after 6 pm 
    • No watering allowed within 48 hours of measurable rainfall 
    • No washing of driveways and sidewalks; except as needed for health and safety. Sweep instead.
    • Use only hoses with shutoff nozzles to wash vehicles. 
    • Turn off fountains or decorative water features unless the water is recirculated. 
    • Prevent runoff in gutters, patios, walkways, driveways or streets while watering.

       Lose Your Lawn

  • Plant drought tolerant plants
    • Replace turf with groundcover, trees, and drought tolerant or native shrubs. View sample water-wise landscapes and specific plants in this interactive picture gallery to generate ideas for your own low water use landscape design. Visit Canopy's online Tree Library to pick drought resistant trees before planting. Canopy also provides watering instructions, tree care guides, and more. 
  • Use mulch to help the soil retain moisture, stifle weeds and beautify your garden.  
    • Find mulch here.
  • Buy compost or make your own.
  • Apply as little fertilizer as possible. If you have to use fertilizer, make sure it stays on the landscape. After applying it, carefully water to make sure the fertilizer soaks on, so there is NO runoff. Use less toxic products. More information is available at
  • Whenever possible, place plants with similar water needs close together (this is called hydro zoning). 
  • Irrigate Smart 
    • Use recycled water when available.
    • If you irrigate, choose a water-efficient system. Change spray sprinklers to low-flow bubbler or drip systems. Shrubs and trees are ideal candidates for this type of irrigation because the water is applied directly to the root zones.
    • Invest in a weather-based irrigation controller—or a smart controller. These devices will automatically adjust the watering time and frequency based on soil moisture, rain, wind, and evaporation and transpiration rates. Check with your local water agency to see if there is a rebate available for the purchase of a smart controller. Make sure to get a model with high-efficiency nozzles, a dedicated landscape meter, flow sensors and hydrometers
    • Check your irrigation controller once a month, and adjust as necessary. Most plants require only one-third as much water in winter as they do in summer. To find out how much water your plants need, visit the Landscape Watering Calculator.
    • Check the soil moisture level before watering.
    • Did you know you can report a broken sprinkler head? If you see a broken sprinkler head (on public or private property), please submit a message to EBMUD.
  • Washing Cars and Driveways 
    • Wash your car at a commercial car wash - they recycle the wash water.
    • If you must wash your car at home, drive your car onto a lawn to wash it. Rinse water can help water the grass. Don’t run the hose while washing your car. Use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end.
    • California drought regulations require the use of an auto-shutoff spray nozzle on your garden hose.
    • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks and patio

Additional Resources