If you're looking for the best way to save a lot of water, start by looking in the places where you use the most water. Over half of all the water we use is applied outdoors, so the potential water savings from landscape irrigation improvements are enormous. Leaky residential plumbing can waste a surprising amount of water, and push your water bill dramatically higher. Investing in water reuse and recycling can offer a constant supply of "free" landscape water - the potential savings might surprise you. Here are our top three picks; details and links to resources are below:

1. Reduce Landscape & Farm Water Use

Irrigation is where we can REALLY make a difference. On average in California, over half of residential water is used outdoors. In the Ventura River watershed, that number is likely much higher given the number of large estates here. The watershed is also home to golf courses, large parks, and many public and private schools with extensive landscaped grounds. And over 5,000 acres of agricultural crops are irrigated with water from the watershed. Reducing water used through irrigation can be done in many ways, from replacing thirsty plants (like turf) with low or no water using options (like natives), to ensuring that irrigation systems are running as efficiently as possible. Some options for reducing irrigation water use are fairly easy and inexpensive, like watering only in early morning hours, and others are more of an investment, like upgrading sprinkler heads to more efficient models. There are people and resources available to help, both with expertise and in some cases incentives. Free, on-site irrigation efficiency surveys are available to ALL water users in Casitas Municipal Water District’s wholesale service area (most of the watershed). Below are links to a variety of helpful resources and information.

Water Efficient Landscapes

Free Onsite Irrigation Surveys Ocean Friendly Gardens – City of Ventura Ocean Friendly Gardens – Video Water Wise Gardening in Ventura County Website Landscape design software customized for Ventura County. Includes plant lists. Low Water Using Landscape Ideas Sprinklers 101 Master Gardeners Free Mulch from City of Ventura’s Cornucopia Gardens

Agricultural Water Use

Free Onsite Agricultural Irrigation Evaluations  Evapotranspiration Data in Ojai Subtropical Orchards Management Under Drought (Ben Faber, Farm Advisor) Drought Tips for Growers (CIMIS) Water and Drought Online Seminar Series (Univ. of Calif.) Evapotranspiration Scheduling (Univ. of Calif.) Soil Moisture Monitoring (Univ. of Calif.)

Rebates on Water Saving Irrigation Equipment

Rebates are available on smart irrigation controllers, rain barrels, efficient sprinkler nozzles, and agricultural irrigation efficiency equipment. Restrictions apply. Rebate Information

2. Improve Wasteful Plumping & Pipes

Finding and repairing leaks—it’s one of those critical maintenance tasks that can not only save HUGE amounts of water, but also lots of money on your water bill. A tiny leak in a swimming pool’s plumbing system can lose 970 gallons of water in one day!A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year - that's about the amount of water needed to take 180 showers! According to the US EPA, 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. Common types of leaks, like worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and other leaking valves are easily correctable. And help detecting leaks is available for free from Casitas Municipal Water District. The Ventura River watershed has hard water, which makes regular maintenance of pipes and plumbing all the more important. Hard water has a high mineral content and these minerals form deposits, or scale, that stick to the interior of pipes and other water fixture surfaces. This can lead to clogs and other problems with pipes and appliances. Toilet flappers should be checked regularly for this reason, as these deposits can prevent a good seal—a common cause of continuous leaks. Large amounts of water (and money) can also be saved by upgrading to newer, high-efficiency fixtures. Toilets are the biggest component of indoor water use, accounting for about 33% of indoor residential water use. Older toilets can use 3.5 or sometimes up to 5 gallons per flush. Newer models are using as little as 1.29 gallons per flush. Rebates on high efficiency toilets and washing machines are available. Free Water Saving Equipment & Rebates Leaks Identify a Leak If you need help determining if a leak may exist, call Casitas Municipal Water District at 805/649-2251 x128 for assistance. Report a Leak For a minor leak, call the appropriate water district’s phone number (Water District Contact Info) . For a major leak, call 911 and the fire department will contact the appropriate water agency. How to Read your Meter and Detect Leaks (Ventura River County Water District) How to Locate your Meter and Detect Leaks – video (City of Ventura) [link to this video on our video page] How to Check for Leaks Inside and Outside the Home – video (City of Ventura) [link to this video on our video page] How to Check your Irrigation System for Leaks – video (City of Ventura) [add this to our video page, and link to] Is my Toilet Leaking? Drip Calculator How to Check your Swimming Pool for Leaks - video

3. Harvest & Reuse More Water

Graywater is water from washing machines, bathroom sinks, showers, and bathtubs. This is fairly clean water that could be available for irrigation, but instead is typically mixed with “black” water (from the toilet) and sent down the sewer. The volume of graywater available for reuse is very significant. Because of this, in 2009 the state of California modified building code requirements to make it easier for people to install simple plumbing systems at their homes that make graywater available for irrigation. “Laundry to landscape” graywater systems that adhere to basic guidelines are now allowed without a building permit. Graywater offers such an easy and important way to supplement local water resources that you can commonly find workshops available locally offering instruction. Keep an eye on our listing of upcoming Classes & Events. [link to] Graywater Graywater Code Guidelines (no permit required) Laundry to Landscape Graywater Video Excerpt (Art Ludwig) [link to this video on our video page] Graywater FAQ (Greywater Action) Rainwater Harvesting When if finally does rain, wouldn’t it be nice to grab more of that water while we can? Harvesting rainwater can be done with rain barrels or cisterns that collect rooftop runoff, through “rain gardens” designed to capture and hold more water in the landscape, through engineered stormwater capture and treatment systems like bioswales, through “curb cuts” used to channel runoff from streets into planters, and many other techniques. How to Use Shower Warm-up Water to Flush the Toilet Rainwater Harvesting – How much can I harvest? How to Use Rain Barrels – video (City of Ventura) [link to this video on our video page]