California Drought Inspires These 5 Creative Ways People Are Conserving Water

PHOTO: A concept from Caroma for a toilet-sink that would conserve water. PlayCaroma/YouTube
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With the state of California under mandatory water-use restrictions, state residents are turning to creative ways to conserve water. Water conservation officials say the following are some options people can turn to, or are already turning to, in order to save water in a state that needs every last drop.

1. Spray painting lawns

Spray painting dry, brown lawns green is an efficient way to conserve water, according to California state officials. The State Water Resources Control Board says 50 percent of the state's water is used outside. "Ways families can drastically cut water use is by limiting how much they water their lawn," said Miryam Barajas, the control board's public information officer.

PHOTO: Drew McClellan of A lucky Lawn applies green dye onto drought affected grass at a home in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Oct. 1, 2014. Mike Blake/Reuters
Drew McClellan of A lucky Lawn applies green dye onto drought affected grass at a home in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Oct. 1, 2014.

2. Drought-tolerant landscaping

Many residents across the state are starting to convert their lawns and gardens into new landscapes, according to water conservation officials. That includes trading in grass for rocks, turf or even cactus. Certain agencies are even offering incentives for folks to replace thirsty lawns with drought tolerant plants.

PHOTO: Landscaper David Puac installs a succulent plant during the installation of a drought-tolerant landscape in the front yard of Larry and Barbara Halls home in the San Fernando Valley area of the city of Los Angeles, July 17, 2014. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Landscaper David Puac installs a succulent plant during the installation of a drought-tolerant landscape in the front yard of Larry and Barbara Hall's home in the San Fernando Valley area of the city of Los Angeles, July 17, 2014.

3. Replacing pools

Some homeowners are caving in and getting rid of their pools. Christopher Burd is the owner of Dig and Demo, a construction company that helps people turn their pools into something new. "I've definitely seen an uprising this season," Burd said. "The drought is pushing people to do the job." One way Burd does this is by emptying the water out of the pool and filling it in with dirt.

PHOTO: A home with a swimming pool sits near hillside, April 2, 2015, in Altadena, Calif. Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo
A home with a swimming pool sits near hillside, April 2, 2015, in Altadena, Calif.

4. Hybrid sink-toilets

Some companies, like Caroma, an Australian manufacturer, are marketing innovative products like hybrid toilet-sinks. State official say the idea of being able to wash your hands and have it also refill the toilet tank is a smart way to conserve.

PHOTO: A concept from Caroma for a toilet-sink that would conserve water. Caroma/YouTube
A concept from Caroma for a toilet-sink that would conserve water.

5. Reusing water

The easiest thing to do is simply recycle your water, according to water conservation experts. They recommend keeping a pitcher, bucket or cup by your sink or shower when you're waiting for the water to heat up, and use that cold water on your plants or garden outside. Another recommendation is taking care to only turn on the faucet in soft turns, slowly. This reduces how much water comes out of the faucet and can cut down in a small, but important way.

PHOTO: Rebecca Duncan Wilson reuses water at her home in Fresno, Calif. She says she ran the water for about a minute until it warmed up, and then she used the cold water to water plants outside. Rebecca Duncan Wilson
Rebecca Duncan Wilson reuses water at her home in Fresno, Calif. She says she ran the water for about a minute until it warmed up, and then she used the cold water to water plants outside.