You may be wondering about water conservation and how you can do your part to be a part of the change we need during this drought. Here are some frequently asked questions that will give you some insight on the drought crisis and importance of water conservation.


What is a drought?

There are many definitions and types of drought. Meteorologists generally define drought as a prolonged period of dry weather caused by a lack of precipitation that results in a serious water shortage for some activity, population, or ecological system. Drought can also be thought of as an extended imbalance between precipitation and evaporation.

 As average temperatures have risen because of climate change, the Earth’s water cycle has sped up through an increase in the rate of evaporation. An increase in evaporation makes more water available in the air for precipitation, but contributes to drying over some land areas, leaving less moisture in the soil.

See more about drought at the United States Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/weather-climate/drought.html


How does it impact our lives?

Drought affects all parts of our environment and our communities. The many different drought impacts are often grouped as “economic,” “environmental,” and “social” impacts. All of these impacts must be considered in planning for and responding to drought conditions.

See more about how droughts impact daily life at the National Drought Mitigation Center http://drought.unl.edu/DroughtforKids/HowDoesDroughtAffectOurLives/TypesofDroughtImpacts.aspx


How much water does the average person use a day?

Estimates vary, but each person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day.

Here’s a quick breakdown:


 A "full tub" varies, of course, but 36 gallons is good average   amount.


 Old showers used to use up to 5 gallons of water per minute.  Water-saving shower heads produce about 2 gallons per minute.

Teeth brushing

 <1 gallon. Newer bath faucets use about 1 gallon per minute, whereas older models use over 2 gallons.

Hands/face washing

 1 gallon

Face/leg shaving

 1 gallon


 6-16 gallons. Newer, EnergyStar models use 6 gallons or less per wash cycle, whereas older dishwashers might use up to 16 gallons per cycle.

Dishwashing by hand

 About 8-27 gallons. This all depends on how efficient you are at hand-washing dishes. Newer kitchen faucets use about 1.5-2 gallons per minutes, whereas older faucets use more. 

Clothes washer

 25 gallons/load for newer washers. Older models might use about 40 gallons per load.

Toilet flush

 3 gallons. Most all new toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush, but many older toilets used about 4 gallons.

Glasses of water drunk

 8 oz. per small glass 

Outdoor watering

 2 gallons per minute, depending on the force of your outdoor faucet.

Estimates gathered from the United States Geological Survey May 29, 2015


How can I do my part to help conserve water?

When it comes to conserving water, small adjustments can have a big impact. Here you can sort through nearly 200 water-saving tips, download and print tip posters or share your favorites on social media.

See more about how to conserve water at Water Use It Wisely http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/


How can I get more information about water conservation?


Visit the Santa Ana Public Library for a wide variety of information and resources on water conservation:


Or visit the City of Santa Ana Water Conservation sites: