Still conserving water? We should be.

Last spring, state regulators relaxed statewide water restrictions, allowing local communities to set their own standards. And now it looks like Californians have also taken it easy — maybe a bit too much.

The fact is, 62 percent of California is still in severe or exceptional drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. And that means we should still be taking water conservation seriously.

Statewide mandates for water conservation in 2015 helped reduce our water usage significantly. But ever since  the hot summer months of 2016, Californians’ water usage has gone up.

We can and must do better because the drought may not be going away anytime soon. Forecasters say we’re just as likely to get a normal wet winter this year as we are another dry one, like last year, when dry brown grass lay bare in the Sierras instead of snow.

Environmentalists and regulators are beginning to worry again, and we should, too. Remember these water conservation tips and remind your loved ones as well:

Around the house:

  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Take shorter showers
  • Fill the dishwasher all the way before running it
  • If washing dishes by hand, use a wash bin or plug the sink instead of letting the water run
  • Turn off outside sprinklers when it rains

Outside the house:

  • Adjust sprinklers so only your plants get watered, not sidewalks or driveways
  • When washing your car, use a bucket and sponge or a hose with a self-closing nozzle
  • Consider changing your landscaping to include California-friendly plants, appropriate for your climate

Remember, we’re all in this together. Remind your family and friends that we’re still in a drought and that they can help, too. By implementing measures like these every day, our impact on water conservation can really add up.

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