You know what they say about water: “Can live with it, can’t live without it.” and California is getting closer to being “without" it than ever before. I detailed my sentiments about the drought earlier this morning (synopsis: it’s really bad), and offered a very detailed, adorably illustrated case for the most effortless way to conserve our wet friend (letting it mellow). There are so many other ways though, so many others! So I thought I’d throw out a few more, with varying levels of intensity.

Dry Shampoo

Intensity: OMG so easy.

If you have to take a shower every day because your hair looks oddly disgusting after 12 hours, dry shampoo is where it’s at. Also, fellow bangs-havers; sometimes, I’ll wash just my bangs in the sink. Just my bangs! It’s not even about saving water, it’s about fooling people into thinking you took a shower when you really only washed your forehead hair.

“Navy Showers”

Intensity: For the awesomely dedicated

A navy shower is when you get in the shower, get wet, turn the water off, do all your soaping, and then turn the water back on to rinse off. It saves a TON of water, but yeah, isn’t very fun. Considering that a 10-minute shower in the absolute best-case scenario (lowest-flow shower head) still uses 25 gallons of water, you’d still be doing the thirsty earth a serious solid.

If you can’t handle that, shaving with the water off or even just cutting down on LUXURIOUS SHOWER LOLLY-GAGGING is totally better than nothing.

“Navy Shower” your dishes!

Intensity: Easy! (and kind of cute)

For those of you with dishwashers, first, let me say “la dee dah,” and second, I hope you’re filling those babies to their fancy-ass BRIMS before you run them. For the rest of us washing by hand, soaping everything with the faucet off and lining dishes up on the counter to be rinsed all at once is actually really satisfying.

Put something heavy in your toilet tank

Intensity: Really easy, MacGyver-esque

Fill up a plastic bottle with sand or salt or whatever and just put it into the tank of your toilet. It will displace the water so that you use less per flush.

Ask your Landlord to Fix Your Leaks

Intensity: As easy as an email, depending on your landlord.

If you’re going to waste water, god, let it be for something more exciting than a stupid leak. A leaking faucet can waste 10-40 gallons of water a day, and a crappy toilet valve can waste up to 50. (Check for silent toilet leaks by putting food coloring into the tank of your toilet. After 15 minutes, if any of the color has seeped into the bowl, your toilet is basically Edward Snowden*.)

*Political toilet joke

Stop Drinking Bottled Water

Intensity: Slightly below medium

It takes three liters of water to make one bottle of water. That’s ridiculous.

Fill up whatever you want instead, but know that Beyonce wrote “Crazy in Love” about me and my S’well bottle. (It keeps cold water cold for 24 hours and hot things hot for 12 hours).  They aren’t sponsoring this or anything. It’s just a really, really awesome water bottle. 

Use “Gray Water”

Intensity: Medium to advanced

There are a lot of elaborate “gray water” systems you can build into your house, but a bucket works, too. Basically, you want to collect and use any “clean” water you’d otherwise let run down the drain. Keep a bucket by the shower to catch the water as it heats up and use it to water plants, wash the floor, or even flush the toilet. (Just turn off the pipe to the tank and pour it in the back before you flush.) Easier version: keep your filtered water pitcher (or unfiltered, whatever), by the kitchen sink and fill it while the water is heating up to wash dishes.

Eat Less Beef, Buy Less Denim

Eat and wear whatever you want, but it’s kind of mind-blowing that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce just a pound of beef, and 2,900 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans. Food (and clothes) for thought. 

Photo by David Blackwell