On July 8, California water regulators heard proposals for a statewide drought fee and hefty fines for homeowners who use too much water. In fact, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee, California could actually set a state standard for reasonable residential water use, imposing fines on local agencies whose customers use too much.

To get people saving water – and money – now, environmental and geotechnical drilling industry expert Marques Larabie has released a list of his top three recommended ways to conserve water in the home.

In the bathroom: Marques Larabie first recommends people take shorter showers. For women who shave their legs in the shower, they can instead sit do so using the tub faucet, turning the water on only to rinse the blade. People can also replace their showerheads with an ultra-low-flow versions. There are even some units available that allow users to cut off the water flow without adjusting the temperature knobs.
For those people who bathe, Marques Larabie says to use the minimum amount of water needed by closing the drain first and filling the tub only one-thirds full. The initial burst of cold water will be warmed by the hot water that comes out soon after.

In the kitchen: When trying to thaw meat, people should not use running water. Instead, Marques Larabie says, the best method is to defrost the food overnight in the refrigerator. For quicker results, cooks can use the defrost setting on their microwave. After meals, avoid using kitchen sink disposals for food refuse. They require a lot of water to operate properly. Marques Larabie recommends starting a compost pile as an alternate to using a garbage disposal. Also, people should consider installing an instant water heater on their kitchen sink. This reduces water use and heating costs for the entire household.

Around the house: Many homes have hidden water leaks, says Marques Larabie. People should go around their house and check pipes, toilets and other water fixtures for leaks. A faucet dripping at the rate of one drop per second can waste 2,700 gallons per year. People should also check for leaks by reading their water meter. To do this, people can read the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. They will know there is a leak if the meter does not read exactly the same.