Photo from Coyote Hills in Fremont showing a dock over dried ground. Photo by Robin Mayoff.
Coyote Hills Feb. 2014 by Robin Mayoff.

What You Can Do

After four years of drought, we all must do our part to conserve water. The County of Alameda is encouraging every employee to conserve water at work and at home. Conserving water will help you save money and avoid a hefty penalty from your local water agency. Below are water-saving steps that you can take now to help the County and the State in meeting this unprecedented environmental challenge:


  • Turn off the faucet while you wash your hands or brush your teeth
  • Fill a large bowl or container to wash dishes or fruits and vegetables, and use the rinse water to water your plants
  • Use the same drinking glass throughout the day
  • Run dishwasher only when full
  • Use a light wash setting on the dishwasher to save water
  • Consider scraping your dishes instead of using running water


  • Install a low-flow showerhead - saves 4,550 gallons of water per year if you take five minute showers
  • Reduce the length of your shower - you will save 2.5 gallons of water per minute, equaling 750 gallons per month
  • "If it's yellow, let it mellow" to reduce toilet flushes
  • Skip car washes - use a commercial car wash or give the car a sponge bath using rinse water from washing fruits and vegetables
  • Dispose of items in the trash, not the toilet

Photo of bay friendly landscaping, poppies

Outdoor Water Use (50% of California residential water is used outdoors)

  • Sweep your driveway instead of hosing it down
  • Report water waste to your local water supplier

Garden and Backyard

  • Replace ornamental landscaping with drought resistant plants
  • Turn off the irrigation system to your lawn
  • Water your favorite plants by hand instead of using sprinklers, to save 12,500 gallons of water a year
  • Add trees and shrubs to create relief from the sun
  • Grade beds to allow water to soak in rather than run off
  • Group plants with similar water needs
  • Weed to reduce competition
  • Add compost and other organic matter to improve moisture retention of soil
  • Mulch garden by moving shredded leaves back to shady areas which cools soil
  • Plant trees and shrubs in the fall when there are cooler temperatures and possible rain
  • Reduce fertilizer use in the summer
  • Water before 10 am
  • Water deeply; brief watering encourages shallow roots
  • Water the base of trees, not leaves
  • Plant early maturing varieties
  • Harvest vegetables as soon as matured and remove plant after it stops producing

Appliance Maintenance

  • Consider replacing old toilets with newer, more water efficient ones
  • Consider replacing old washers with higher efficiency ones - saves about 25 gallons of water with every load
  • Look for leaks by adding food coloring to the toilet bowl: if you then see color in the bowl without flushing, you may have a leak - call the plumber if you suspect a leak
  • Install faucet aerators - saves 1,000 gallons of water in a year

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