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Are You as Water Smart as Conan O'Brien?

Steve Fleischli

Posted August 5, 2014

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Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter, NRDC, and the State of California have teamed up to create a new series of very funny Public Service Announcements to encourage water conservation during California’s historic drought.  This new partnership follows the debut of Conan’s first drought PSA just a few weeks ago after the State adopted wise Emergency Regulations to cut outdoor water waste. Conan and Andy are awesome for inspiring needed action, but you’ll see that they’re also pretty darn water smart. 

Are you as water smart as Conan?  To find out, take the quiz below and watch and share Conan’s videos for the answers.

        1.  Using a carwash instead of washing by hand can save how much water?

                 a.  6 gallons

                 b.  Time you would otherwise need to bathe your children

                 c.  60 gallons


        2.  Without a cover, swimming pools can waste how much water a year due                 to evaporation?

                 a.  400 gallons

                 b.  Who cares, you are already failing this quiz by filling your swimming pool with water in the middle of an epic drought

                 c.  40,000 gallons

       To find the answer, click here.

        3.  Being lazy has which of the following benefits:

                 a.  Rapid weight gain

                 b.  Increased finger dexterity from gaming on smart phones

                 c.  Saves water

         4.  A leaking toilet can waste…

                 a.  A whole night of setting the mood when your date finds a huge puddle next to your toilet

                 b.  10 gallons of water per day

                 c.  100 gallons of water per day

Toilets can leak without you even knowing it, so be sure to test your toilet. Simply add some dye to the tank and wait 15 minutes. If the dye appears in the bowl, you have a leak. To fix it, head to your local hardware store and pick up a toilet flapper – just make sure it’s the right type for your toilet. It’s a quick, inexpensive fix that will save hundreds of gallons of water and reduce your water bills. Ask your local utility if they offer free dye tablets. And to see how to conduct the dye tablet test, watch this video.

          5.  How does Andy clean his dishes in order to save water?

                  a.  In the sink by hand

                  b.  In the dishwasher

                  c.  In a spot that may horrify his dinner guests

To find out, watch the video.  Although some people are very efficient at washing by hand, most of us aren't and that means up to 27 gallons of water per load. A new Energy Star-rated dishwasher can consume as little as 3 gallons per load. But DO hand-scrape food off instead of pre-rinsing your dishes.  


So how’d you do?  Too easy?  If so, then our new report on other long-term solutions we can embrace to save water in California might be just the thing for you -- forget about gallons, let’s talk about acre-feet or even millions of acre-feet of water savings and enough to provide water for all California cities.

No matter how you did, you can help share Conan’s simple water saving tips by using the hashtag #TeamCocoH2O and #SaveOurWater @teamcoco @NRDC @SaveOurWater. For more water conservation tips, check out and NRDC’s “Nine Ways to Save Water at Home” guide.


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      Jill H-WAug 10 2014 03:11 PM

      What is a strategy for washing a car by hand, and using less water when doing so? It is nice to say that going to a car wash uses less water, but washing by hand means less money directly out of my pocket. It is also good exercise and I get to see how the finish of my car is holding up.

      James Singmaster,III,Ph.D.Aug 11 2014 01:45 PM

      In the Virgin Islands and likely elsewhere with very little fresh water available. the government has campaign of two liner: "On these Islands in the sun, we do not flush for No.!." Such a practice can probably save a quarter or more of the household water usage. It also might cut some costs at sewage treament plants that will have reduction of 10% or more in sewage volume to handle.
      It could be possible in some areas to use ocean water for toilets but completely separated water lines would have to be set up probably at too great an expense to be feasible.

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