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If you've lived in California for more than a few minutes, you’ve surely seen evidence of the multi-year drought, including the seemingly ubiquitous "Extreme Drought—Save Water!" or "Every Drop Counts" signs. But reducing your water usage doesn’t just safeguard this precious resource—it's also one of the best ways to reduce your water bill.

As the drought drags on and inflation continues to rise, public policy experts warn that many California residents are likely to see increases in their water bills as well. To help you offset the added financial burden, we've compiled a handy list of tips and strategies for how to save on your water bill.

  • Keep an Eye on Your Meter
    According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American uses around 82 gallons of water each day. However, if you were asked to estimate your water usage without knowing that fact, it's likely that you'd guess something much lower. Having an idea of how much water you use is the first step to cutting back. Consider making your water meter more visible, or getting into the habit of checking it once a day.
  • Fix Leaks
    The EPA has also estimated that the average household loses almost 10,000 gallons of water each year through leaks. That's 10,000 gallons of water that you may be paying for without even using. Spending a few minutes and a little bit of money to repair that faucet/showerhead/toilet you've been meaning to work on may have a much bigger effect than you realize when it comes to saving water.
  • Only Run Appliances When Full
    Try to avoid running your dishwasher or washing machine unless you're doing a full load of dishes or laundry. You'll ultimately cut back on the number of loads you do, which will reduce water usage.
  • Turn Off the Sink When You Brush Your Teeth
    Enough said! It can be easy to lose track of the small moments where we waste water, but eventually, they add up. Look for other moments where you can save water by turning off the tap when you're not using it.
  • Invest in Water-Efficient Gadgets
    You may think that you're being thrifty by hanging on to your old washer or dishwasher, but that's not always the case. Older appliances are much less water- and electricity-efficient than newer ones. Look for Energy Star-rated models, which are sometimes eligible for rebates or tax credits to help offset the cost. If larger appliances are still too expensive, focus on the small ones instead. New showerheads, toilets, and faucets are also more water-efficient.

If you're unable to pay your overdue water bill, look for assistance from your local Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) provider. Launched by Congress during the height of the COVID pandemic as part of economic relief efforts and continued by the State of California, LIHWAP helps low-income households with a one-time payment per program year on their water and/or sewage bills. Contact your LIHWAP local service provider for details on eligibility and how to apply. In Alamedia county, contact Spectrum Community Service for an application packet. Spectrum's weatherization assistance program can also help with ways to conserve water.

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information, or contact us to learn about current volunteer opportunities. We can't wait to work with you!