California’s Drought: Turn it off Marketing Campaign

California has a long tradition of conflict over water conservation. But after fifteen years of battle with the drought across the region, it can no longer be a conflict but a crisis. Governor Brown has declared a statewide drought emergency and is asking all Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent. California is experiencing a serious drought, and the state will be challenged to meet its water needs for the upcoming year.

Below are some tips compiled by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to conserve water at home and on campus. The CPUC is committed to supporting and encourages both water and energy conservation throughout the state of California. By working together, we can save water and energy to preserve the California environment.

  • Install water-saving devices. You can save water by installing low-flow showerheads, high- efficiency toilets, and kitchen/bathroom faucet aerators. Check with your utility – you may be able to get these devices at a discount, or for free. Did you know that almost 20 percent of electricity and more than 30 percent of natural gas is used to treat, transport, and use water? It’s a win-win situation – when you save water, you save energy too! (CPUC, 2015)
  • Take shorter showers. Reduce your shower by 1-2 minutes and save 5 gallons (CPUC, 2015).
  • Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. Save 3 gallons (CPUC, 2015).
  • Fix leaky faucets. Save up to 20 gallons per day (CPUC, 2015).
  • Wash a full load of laundry. Save 15 to 50 gallons per load (CPUC, 2015).
  • Use a broom instead of a hose. You can save as much as 100 gallons of water cleaning your driveway by sweeping instead of using the hose. Plus, it’s good exercise (CPUC, 2015).
  • Water before 8 a.m. You can save about 25 gallons each time you water by watering before 8 a.m. Watering early in the morning reduces evaporation and puts that water to work helping your plants grow (CPUC, 2015).
  • Make the switch from lawn to xeriscaping (low-water use landscaping). Change your garden from turf to drought-tolerant plants and reduce your household water use by more than 30 percent. Outdoor water use accounts for between 50 to 70 percent of all household water use (CPUC, 2015).

Let’s be more conscious of water conservation and get the word out fellow Trojans! Fight on and turn it off!


CPUC (2015). Water Conservation Tips. California Public Utilities Commission. Retrieved from

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8 Responses to California’s Drought: Turn it off Marketing Campaign

  1. Alexis says:

    Hi Stephen,
    Here we go again, another drought for us here in California. Growing up in California I can recall several times when these tips have been suggested to the population. I think it might be wise that we take these measures more serious and try to conserve even when our governor does not declare an emergency state of drought. Something that has happened is that all restaurants, at least in the Bay Area, no longer offer water without it being asked for. It is still free, however you must ask for it before they just bring it out. I learned this the hard way – but I think it’s a good step in moving us all towards a more water conscious state.

    Great job spreading the word of conservation!

  2. Kim says:

    Hi Stephen!
    California should always remain on a water conservation plan because every 5-10 years we go through a drought and I agree with you, everyone needs to conserve.
    One area I think city councils should address is property management companies, who maintain the landscaping areas in their town or city. I was driving the other day, and the sprinklers were going full blast, in the middle of a red hot day, the ground was saturated, and water was running off down the gutter. I probably should have called the city but, I didn’t I was into much of a hurry and I feel guilty.
    Water is a critical resource and we take it for granted. Water conservation is very important helping prevent local and global problems such as, rising costs, reduced food supplies and health hazards. It would be terrible if Californian’s did not conserve enough water when fire season comes around, and we don’t have enough to put the fires out. That sounds hysterical but it could be a possibility with high temperatures continuing all year, like this last year. It was a hot winter!

    Thanks for the tips!


  3. Brittani says:

    I agree with Alexis that a drought warning is really nothing new here in California. And while we are on the right track by requiring people to ask for water, there really needs to be more done in order to combat this crisis. I feel as though there are scientist out there who should have seen this coming and been working on solutions decades ago to serve the needs now. Similar to roadway projects, if you plan for tomorrow today, you’re already behind. Because there are so many protocols to consider and approvals to gain, transportation companies are starting projects now that people really won’t reap the benefits from until 30 years from now.

    Water conservation should be as proactive as transportation, especially since its such a vital resource.

  4. Jason says:

    This is an incredibly important campaign for California and the U.S. in general. Its so important in fact, that I am kind of disappointed that the campaign is so boring. With all the creative minds in the state, you’d think someone could come up with a catchier way to present the suggested actions. We’ve been dealing with drought in Texas for several years now too and this reminds me of some advertising that a firm I know created in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that is very good.

    The Eppstein Group created the “Lawn Whisperer” Campaign. This is one of the TV ads:

  5. Ryan says:


    In Riverside we have the most ridiculous but effective billboard about water conservation. It has generated a lot of conversation about the quality of the ad, which in and of itself means it has been effective.

    Check it out:

  6. Kelly says:

    Hi Stephen,

    As a California transplant, the concept of a drought is still very new to me. However, I do think that the state is headed in the right direction to preserve the water supply. This marketing campaign goes to show how much every individual can impact the environment. While starting off with simple restrictions is beneficial, I do believe that there is more that can be done. I currently live in Orange County and am starting to see several of the restrictions taking place. But, if the marketing campaign was a bit stronger I think that more Californians would take action.

    Engaging the Millennial generation with this cause could help spread the word quicker and more effectively. The combination of the current marketing strategy coupled with an integrated social media campaign would create needed exposure.

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. Kelly says:

    Hi Stephen,

    As you mention, this is a long-term problem with detrimental consequences. Arizona took a similar approach to promoting water conservation with their “Water Use it Wisely” campaign that was launched in 1999- Although their website doesn’t indicate the impact or success of the campaign, at the very least it brought the complexity of the issue to the forefront. Similar to your tips, their website provides links to water saving products, offers videos about how to conserve, and even a “Home Water Audit” – a survey that rates your water conservation.

    I hope that California is able to successfully execute a marketing campaign like “Water Use it Wisely” in order to start an effective water conservation movement in the region. How is the local government involved with this effort? I’m on the east coast and am curious as to what the local government’s response is and if it’s effective.


  8. Jessica says:

    Agreed! I am a very environmentally friendly person but even if people are not this is still something that effects us all! I was pleasantly surprised by the recent campaign the city of Sacramento in California launched stating that majority of over consumption of water goes to lawns and outdoor uses. The city rewarded residents for not over consuming with a sign for their front lawn that reads “Gold is the new Green!” with a caption that states the residents are doing their part by letting the grass go “gold.” I thought it was very clever and it has done so well that other cities have now adopted it. I definitely wouldn’t mind having one on my lawn!

    ‘Gold is the new green’ (2014). Retrieved from