The Water Effect

Simple solutions to cut our daily water use in half.


Every choice we make is a chance to save water.

The Water Effect inspires ripples of change through simple solutions, open-source toolkits, and incentive-based campaigns, challenges, and celebrations.

Together, we can create respect for our most precious resource.

10 Simple Solutions to Create an Abundant, Healthy Watershed
Solutions / Water

10 Simple Solutions to Create an Abundant, Healthy Watershed

Simple solutions make big change.

By being aware of the water it takes to make and transport the things we eat, buy, and use, we can make better choices every day.

California is in the midst of a historic drought. Yet each Californian still uses 1800 gallons per day. That’s twice the recommended daily budget for the sustainable future of our planet. At the rate we’re consuming water, we’d need two planets to quench our thirst.

By doing these 10 simple actions, you can cut your daily water footprint in half!


Save 1 gallon per single use plastic bottle – Every 20 oz packaged water bottle takes 6x the volume of the bottle to manufacture and transport. Reduce plastic waste, save water, and protect our oceans by using a reusable bottle instead. Make a bigger impact by carrying all of your to-go food and beverages in reusable containers.


Save 5 gallons every time you use a bucket – Keep precious drops from going down the drain. Capture and recycle water from your shower or dishwater as it heats up. Use this water to take wash linens, water household plants, rise off your swimsuit, and more. Save 5-10 gallons with each fill.


Save 100’s gallons per day – Choose quality over quantity to save water and stop feeding landfills. Every shirt, shoe, phone, and tablet you buy has a massive water cost in the production and manufacturing. For example, an average cotton t-shirt takes 650 gallons to produce. Give old things new life. Repurpose, recycle, and reuse to save water.


Save 3000 gallons per week – Take a step down the food chain and save. It takes water to feed, process, transport, and store meat – up to 1600 gallons for 1lb of beef. Swapping green for red just a couple times a week saves thousands of gallons of water.


Save 150 gallons per day – When you buy organic or grow your own vegetables at home, you keep harmful pesticides out of our waterways. Supporting local farmers reduces the water necessary to transport, process, and store food.


Save 55 gallons per rainfall – When that precious California rain comes, take advantage. The average southern California rooftop has the potential to save 1000 gallons of water for every inch of rain. Gather the drops in containers, rain barrels or rain gardens — reduce runoff and keep post-storm beaches clean. Rain barrels can contain 55 gallons to 1200 gallons, depending on your space.


Save 2 gallons per day – Toilets are the biggest water users inside the home. In addition to flushing less often, displacing the water in your toilet tank generates easy water savings. Put a brick or sand-filled bottle in your tank to save ¼ gallon with every flush.


Save 150 gallons per day – 30-60% of household water usage takes place outside of the home. By installing a native garden in the place of your lawn, you’ll decrease your water use, reduce runoff, and eliminate the need for synthetic fertilizers.


Save 5 gallons per day – Energy is water and water is energy, so flip the switch. Replace inefficient household bulbs with CFLS and LEDs and turn off all electronics when not in use.


Save 8 gallons per day – A typical faucet runs 2-4 gallons per minute. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, shaving, soaping up, or washing dishes. Simple habit changes make a big difference — see just how little water you need to get the job done.

Water / For Students

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Become a student ambassador for The Water Effect.

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Partner / Water

Let's turn this around.

The Water Effect ambassador Rob Machado talks about how he makes water conservation a lifestyle.

Upcoming Water Events

Join us at The Ecology Center for hands-on exploration of creative water solutions.

Solutions / Water

10 Ways a Bucket Saves Water

Water conservation can be as simple as a bucket. Take a look at the 10 ways we use our trusty pail to save water every day.

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Partner / Water

Featured Partner: Hurley

Our friends at Hurley have been long-time proponents of protecting our oceans and our most precious resource: water. Take a look at our dynamic partnership through the years.

Go Reusable

Reduce waste, save water, and protect our oceans by using a reusable items instead of single-use plastics.

For Students / Water

Water Footprinting Basics

Our water footprint is comprised of all of the visible and invisible water we use throughout the day. Learn what you can do to reduce yours.


While turning off the faucet, taking shorter showers, and transforming our grass lawns into native habitats can conserve hundreds of gallons per week, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

The truth is, the water used inside our homes and outside in our landscapes accounts for only 10% of our total consumption, while the remaining 90% remains invisible to the eye. We call this our water footprint, and taking personal responsibility for reducing it is the most effect path towards positive change.

What is a water footprint?

A ‘footprint,’ in general, has become known as a quantitative measure showing the appropriation of natural resources by a human being. In relationship to water, it represents the water necessary to produce a product. On average, agricultural products account for 70% of our fresh water use, industrial products 20%, and as previously mentioned, residential use for the remaining 10%.

For example

Let’s look at the average cotton t-shirt. The journey a t-shirt makes from cotton plant to retail store shelves is long and water-intensive. It begins with the farmer who grows the cotton. Then, machines pick, clean, and spin the cotton into thread. The thread is made into cloth, then the cloth is dyed, cut, and sown into a t-shirt. Lastly, the shirt goes into a cardboard box and is shipped to stores. Every step of this journey, from growing the cotton to powering the machines to making the cardboard box, requires water—almost 650 gallons in total.

What’s more astounding is the water required by the foods we eat—meat production being the largest. It requires nearly 630 gallons of water to raise, process, and transport the meat for just one burger—with majority of this water use going to grow the animal feed (source). Think that’s a lot? It requires over 4,000 to produce one steak (source).

The drought in Southern California is a problem of this generation. The good news is, solutions exist, and if we commit to these solutions, we can alleviate this problem for future generations. Here’s (see: right) five ways you can be part of the solution today!

For Students / Solutions / Water

Brick It!

Grab a brick and save water, passively, with every flush.

Make / Solutions

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Make every dollar count when you purchase with intention.

Eat / Solutions

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One of the simplest ways to support a sustainable culture is by eating locally.

DIY / Water

How to Install A Rain Barrel

We teamed up with our friends at Houzz to produce a video to guide you through the process at home.

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