Flush less. Bathe less. Readers’ tips for saving water in the drought

Are you watching your lawn slowly wither and turn brown? Do you position buckets under your faucet to catch every drop of spare water? Trying not to break a sweat because you’ve cut down on showering rain to twice a week? (Sorry!)

These are just some of the ideas LA Times readers sent us when we asked them to tell us how they conserve water. It’s a pressing question, with Southern California water authorities announcing new restrictions in response to drought and reduced water supplies.

And while many readers urged Californians to make big lifestyle changes, others offered the usual tips or fresh take on familiar ideas to help reduce the amount of water running down the drain.

Many of you note that water conservation alone, while valuable, is not enough, and argue that more policymakers need to do. For example, Christiane Badgley of Long Beach wrote, “We need big change. [The] The LA Times recently wrote about Israel’s modern water reuse and drip irrigation system – this is where California needs to go. And we need to raise water prices enough to discourage agribusinesses from growing alfalfa and other thirsty crops.”

It’s complicated. Agriculture is an important part of California’s economy, and crops like alfalfa, rice, and almonds are like other foods we consume – producing them requires water. Agriculture is by far the largest user of water in California. Kelly Sanders, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC, told The Times last year that about 80% of the water used in the state is for agriculture. The rest is mostly urban use, she said.

What is very clear, however, is that Southern California doesn’t have an abundance of water – and probably won’t for a while, if at all.

Here’s how LA Times readers are adapting. Got more ideas? Send them to us. Flush less. Bathe less. Readers’ tips for saving water in the drought

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