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Seven Tips to Save Water Even If You Don't Have a Lawn

Scott Lucas | January 21, 2014 | Lifestyle Story City Life

It's dry. Like driest winter in 500 years dry. Like Governor Jerry Brown just declared an official drought dry. Like no end to the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of high pressure air keeping the rain away from us dry. So it's no surprise that we've been asked to reduce our water consumption by 20%.

We're all for it, but how?

After all, many of the water conservation tips we found list things like cutting back on lawn watering, washing your car less often, or making sure to the dishwasher only at maximum capacity. That doesn't help you, if like us, you don't have a lawn, a car, or a dishwasher. So what's a foot loose and fancy free urbanite supposed to do to help reduce their water footprint? Here's seven tips from the experts about how to keep dry even if you live in a micro-est of apartments.

1. Radically overhaul your diet: According to National Geographic, vegans are responsible for 600 gallons of water fewer per year than meat and dairy eaters. On top of that, a single cup of coffee takes a total of 55 gallons of water to make (though most of that is used outside of California in the growing process). So, if the health or the animal welfare arguments haven't convinced you yet, maybe it's time to take another look at tofu and kombucha lunches. Surely you can manage to do that one day a week?

2. Don't flush your roaches down the toilet: Each flush uses five to seven gallons. Instead, flick them out the window onto the street where they belong.

3. Don't let the water run when you brush your teeth or shaving: That's ten gallons a day right there. Or maybe just never shave. Beards are totally in—and leg hair is next.

4. Cancel your subscription to the New York Times: Even recycled paper uses water, though much less than new sheets. Or, if you are like us and can't break your David Brooks fix, just make sure you're recycling all of the paper that you do use. Or, you know, just read it online.

5. Get on your landlord to fix leaks: That all adds up—and it's their responsibility anyway.

6. Don't use multiple glasses throughout the day: That just makes more stuff you have to wash. Minimize your use of different pieces of dishware. Or just eat and drink directly from the packaging and cartons.

7. Install a low flow shower head: It's not like you even need your super's permission to do that. It makes a huge difference, and you can just unscrew it and take it with you when you move.

Update: Bonus tip (courtesy of @cbloggy): Apply for the rebate program from the SF Public Utilities Commission to install a high-efficiency toilet that could reduce your total indoor water use by 16%.

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