Over the Christmas break 2013 I took my family to Lake Tahoe to enjoy the snow. It hasn't really rained in Northern California for almost 12 months at that point, but you couldn't really grasp the impact down in the city. On the way to Truckee we saw many reservoirs down to the minimum levels and the parched farms in the Sacramento area.

Once we got to Truckee and saw that there was no snow to speak of and the Lake was at the lowest levels in years, it really made me think about the coming year.

Lo and behold the Governor declared a water emergency across the state and asked to voluntarily save as much as 20% on water use.

I started to look at my water use at home and saw a couple of areas I could improve upon.

I enjoy gardening and teaching my kids where the things they eat come from. I wasn't really ready to give up watering my planters to save water and started searching the internet for water saving gardening technics.

I found a couple of very interesting ways to conserve water that I wanted to implement in my garden.

The first was greywater irrigation, where you use your laundry discharge (30 gallons or 115 liters per load of laundry) to water above ground plants.

The second was a sub irrigation planter that reduces the amount of water you need to grow plants in a planter by as much as 50%.

The third and biggest water saving technique I found so far is a hot water recirculation pump. This device will save as much as 17000 gallons (65000 Liters) of water annually.

My water bill for Feb 2013 indicates that I was using 350 gallons (1325 Liters) a day, after installing these systems at my house my Feb 2014 bill shows 230 gallons (870 Liters) a day. A 35% decrease in water usage or 43,800 gallons (165000 Liters) of water saved annually. I expect to see even more savings on my next bill after I've installed 1.1 gallons per flush toilets, and 2 gallons per minute shower heads.

Besides those, I also have solar power, all around LED lighting and cellulose insulation.

Always check your local water authority and energy supplier websites to see if there are rebate programs for any of your projects. Some projects will require a pre-approval and inspection before you begin the project.

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