When most Americans think about southern California, the ongoing drought is one of the first characteristics to spring to mind. However, through droughts, warnings, and extreme shortages, most of us continue to treat this resource as a given—as something that will always be available regardless of the changing climate. Water conservation technologies, though often overlooked, are imperative to sustainable home design—especially in southern California. Per capita water consumption increases annually, and new water supply options are often unavailable or only accessed at an exorbitant cost. Streamlining your at-home water system is a perfect way to conserve water, limiting your daily use with just a few pieces of technology.
Conservation through Indoor Water Use
Indoor water use is one of the easiest ways to conserve water. Select low-flow sink and bathtub faucets, showerheads, and toilets—this decision alone can reduce indoor water use by 30%-40%. Toilet flushing alone will typically account for a third of a build’s total water consumption. Additionally, actively search for Energy Star appliances, which guarantee a degree of water efficiency and energy conservation. If you have the resources, build a green roof to utilize potential rainwater, or build rain catchment systems to utilize every drop of water that falls from the sky.
Though these changes are small, they will significantly reduce the amount of water you use inside your home without necessitating any major lifestyle changes. The major changes may be coming in the way we build and design our homes to conserve water, not just energy. Arguably, we’re even further behind the curve when it comes to water conservation and home design, but we may be catching up fast. In the past and in recent years, innovation has been driven by environmentally-motivated funding and design competitions. Yet, the need and the economic incentives for superior water-conserving home construction is ramping up fast, as population growth and high per capita water consumption shows no signs of slowing down in SoCal and the western U.S. in general.