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Here’s how San Franciscans can cut water use as drought drags on

A resident waters a tomato plant at Geneva Community Garden in San Francisco. | Getty Images

San Franciscans are among the lowest water users in the state. But drought is still raging in California, and every drop conserved today can be used tomorrow—or next year, when the drought might be even worse. 

Right now, the city’s water agency is asking residents to cut back their use by 5% and has raised everyone’s bills by the same amount. 

Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, here are the city’s best tips for how to conserve this summer. 

Soapy water flows into a drain at a San Francisco car wash. | Getty Images

Fix your leaks: The easiest way to cut down your bill is to make sure all your appliances are working. Be sure to fix broken pipes and leaking valves to stop them from multiplying your water use. The city even offers free toilets, shower heads and home evaluations to help people with older appliances cut down on water waste all across your house. 

Wash smarter: Reduce the number of laundry and dishwasher loads you run by filling them all the way up, and make sure you’re running your appliance on eco mode or get a rebate for a newer, more efficient model. 

Reduce outside irrigation: Watering your plants for half the time as normal can make a huge difference on your usage and your bill, and don’t forget to pause irrigation in the days right after a foggy or rainy day. Hot tip: watering at night will mean less is lost to evaporation and wind, giving your garden the glug it needs to thrive. 

Don’t wash your car: If you’re going to wash your car, take it to a car wash business, the city says, because they capture the wastewater before it can run off into the ocean. They also often recycle or reuse the rinse water. If you do wash your car at home, use biodegradable soap and a hose with a nozzle to stop the flow of water while you’re lathering down your ride. 

Even more tips and resources, like rebates and how to request free shower heads and toilets are available on the city’s website.