While California has made great strides in water conservation and efficiency in recent years, challenges facing the state's water system mean all water users will have to do more in coming years. According to the state Department of Water Resources, using water more efficiently must become a permanent ethic – whether we are in a drought or not.

Comprehensive legislation on water enacted in November 2009 established new statewide water conservation mandates that require a 20% reduction in urban per-capita water use by 2020. Retail water suppliers are required to determine their baseline per-capita water use and develop water use reduction targets using one of four specified methods.

Multiple dry years, environmental problems, and growing pressure on the state’s water storage and delivery system are some of the key factors driving the need for conservation.

Our population continues to grow, adding more demand on our resources. Climate change already is affecting our water resources, and could reduce our mountain snowpack – a key source of water for California – by at least 25% by 2050.

Conservation is one tool in the toolbox for meeting the state’s growing demand for water as supplies become more and more limited.

Local water agencies offer programs to help their customers use water efficiently and to make water-smart home improvement and landscaping decisions. Investments in conservation have allowed Southern California, for example, to use roughly the same amount of water today that it used two decades ago, despite tremendous population growth.

But even aggressive local conservation programs cannot entirely offset the effects of multiple dry years, climate change and recent reductions in water deliveries to protect species.

Save Our Water

In 2009, ACWA partnered with the California Department of Water Resources to launch “Save Our Water,” a public education program about water conservation and easy ways to cut back on the amount of water we use.

For more information about the program, visit

Local Water Agencies On the Front Lines of Drought

As local water agencies take action to respond to the historic drought, ACWA has launched an interactive web portal to showcase the plethora of local agency drought response activities by ACWA members statewide. 

What You Can Do

Your efforts to save water can make a difference. Rethinking the way you use water – both indoors and outdoors – will help stretch our limited supplies and ensure water is there when we need it.

Simple things you can do in your daily life can save water. If we all work together, we can make a difference for California’s future.

Top 10 Tips for Conservation

1. Take shorter showers

2. Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth

3. Reduce outdoor watering; water your lawn only sparingly

4. Use a broom to clean driveways and sidewalks

5. Adjust sprinklers so they don’t water driveways and sidewalks

6. Only wash full loads of laundry

7. Run the dishwasher only when full

8. Fix leaky faucets and toilets

9. Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose

10. Plant California-friendly trees and plants

Latest News about Conservation

The State Water Resources Control Board has set a public workshop for Dec. 7 in Sacramento to gather input on potential extension and... read»
Sacramento-area residents in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sutter counties reduced water usage by 27% in October compared to the... read»
A far greater percentage of current California voters view the state’s drought as “extremely serious” as compared with... read»
ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn posted a blog today praising Californians and water agencies for the 27% reduction in water usage in... read»
Dozens of area residents and local and state representatives, crowded Sacramento City Hall Wednesday afternoon as Sacramento officials... read»

Latest Posts about Conservation

Save Our Water today launched a new messaging campaign – Don't Waste Summer– which provides daily water conservation tips... read more»
The Save Our Water program is calling on Californians to “get real” about water conservation with a new “Real People,... read more»
With all signs pointing to continued water supply challenges, many California communities are tightening their water belts. Learn about... read more»