How Much Water Are You Using?

Los Angeles is talking about water sources and water conservation. On average, Southern Californians use 50% – 70% of our water outside, in our gardens. 

How much water are you using? Check your DWP bill. Look for “Water Charges” and you will see a date range and a number followed by HCF. This stands for Hundred Cubic Feet, and 1 HCF = 748 Gallons.

Multiply the HCF # by 748, then divide by the number of days in your billing period to determine how many gallons, on average, you use in a given day.

For example, my recent bill lists:

Water Charges 11/7/13 – 1/9/14  6 HCF

so 6 HCF divided by 63 days = 0.0953 HCF/day

0.0953 x 748 = 71.2 gallons / day

If you want to see how much water your irrigation system is using, consider checking your water meter the next time you run your system. Note the numbers both before and after, then just subtract to get your total. Or, if you’ve turned your irrigation system completely off during the winter storms, compare your January bill to one from October to see the difference.

Knowledge is power! With this information, you can target your own water conservation efforts. You may want to consider recycling some of your water (from your shower, water filtration system and/or washing machine)  into your landscape as gray water. Check your downspouts and drain pipes, to see if they can be rerouted to swales or raingardens to harvest stormwater. Consider applying for a rebate and upgrading your old irrigation timer to a new smart app-based controller. Check your system regularly for leaks and proper programming. And talk to your gardener about how much water your garden really needs, and how often. 

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