In California, like many states, we're experiencing a drought again. About 50 percent of U.S. states are facing some level of drought conditions. If this California weather pattern continues through October of this year, this will be California's driest year on record in 500 years.

To put it in perspective, in 1580 it was so dry that the giant sequoias didn't grow at all, according to a LA Times article by B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam.
How does this impact the housing market? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council's study, more than 400 counties throughout the nation may go through drought conditions over the next two decades.

This could be lifestyle-changing news. Ordinary behaviors may have to be drastically modified. If not being able to wash your car at home seems bad, in the future, there could be more extreme restrictions such as, not being able to flush your toilet during the day or take longer than 5-minute showers. And forget about watering your yard—it'll become a desert.

It sounds like doom and gloom but homeowners can actually make a big difference during droughts. What you do may also help increase your home's value by giving it a complete check- up for things that might be wasting water.

The first area to explore is your yard. Landscape is one of the largest water wasters. Many homeowners over-water their yard which translates to about 50 percent of water waste. Automated irrigation systems, if not carefully monitored and regulated, can be dumping too much water in your yard.

Start by checking to make sure you're not over-watering your grass, plants, garden, and shrubs. Cutting back could be what you need to do to perk up the yard.

Do a complete check of your sprinkler system. Make sure it's functioning properly and that you're not losing water through a broken sprinkler head or pipe. Tens of thousands of gallons of water can seep out of slightly dripping faucets, causing your water bill to be a big drain on your bank account.

Consult with a nursery to ensure that you have your yard properly landscaped. Placing plants that have similar water needs makes it more likely that you'll give them just enough water without drowning them.

Inside your home do a full inspection of your: toilet, washing machine, dishwasher, faucets, shower, and pipes. Those sneaky subtle leaks can wash the green right out of your wallet.
Gallons of water are often wasted by homeowners who don't fix unsuspected toilet leaks. The majority of water wasted is in the bathroom. If it takes a while for your hot water to reach the faucet, you might need to insulate your pipes.

If you have the money to change out your old appliances such as a washer that isn't energy-efficient, consider doing so. A newer model will work more efficiently and save both energy and water. When you sell your home you can decide if you wish to let the washer be conveyed.

Your contributions to do your part during the drought could also have a green effect on your home. Energy-saving appliances, water-efficient landscape and water-saving faucets, toilets, and shower heads can help make your home more attractive to buyers.

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