You may have noticed recent media coverage surrounding the historical California drought, water conservation mandates, and the newest social media phenomenon called drought shaming. California is entering its 4th year of severe drought in what is recorded as the worst drought in 1200 years.

Oroville Lake Dried
This before and after depicts the drought effects at the Lake Oroville reservoir in California. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty)

In response, California governor Jerry Brown recently imposed an executive order to reduce water use in urban areas by 25% prior to February 2016. The mandates are intended to create substantial water reduction by regulating and implementing steep fines on tasks such as excessive watering of landscapes, washing cars by hose and mismanaged water features which overspray water onto sidewalks and streets.


Many residents have dutifully adjusted their lifestyles to contribute to water conservation efforts. Many lawns are going brown or being replaced with artificial turf and draught resistant landscaping, people are taking shorter showers, and using automated car washes.

(Credit: @LadyNaturalist/Twitter)
(Credit: @LadyNaturalist/Twitter)

Some residents have begun to encourage their communities to reduce water while others have shamed neighbors for liberal water usage. The phenomenon has been tagged “drought shaming”, and is accompanied by citizens posting pictures and naming users of excessive water usage on social media. The phenomenon has pinned neighbors against each other, celebrities and businesses.

How We Conserve

U-Haul has taken efficiency and conservation seriously for 70 years. We are turning drought shaming on its head and would like to promote #Nodroughtshame. In an effort to serve our communities better, we are doing our part to reduce our water consumption. Here is a look at what some of the U-Haul Companies from the California area are implementing in order to reduce water usage:
“We have small front lawns at 3 centers. We are mindful to water only twice weekly which is the current rule in Sacramento. Days are specified by the county. We started watering exclusively overnight and very early morning with a series of short cycles so the ground absorbs more water rather than it running off onto the sidewalk or gutters and so it will not evaporate quickly as it would in the day. As of last two years, when deciding what to do with traditional flower beds, we have filled those areas with decorative rock and bushes that do not require much water.”

-Aaron, U-Haul Company of East Sacramento

low water landscaping
U-Haul Company of East Sacramento converted traditional flower beds to low-water native landscape.
low water landscaping
Native drought resistant landscaping conversion at U-Haul Company of East Sacramento.

“We do the simple things like not letting the water run when we wash the dishes here or use little when mopping. Everyone here is aware of how serious the drought is and are taking necessary measures to help any way we can. We keep our eyes open for leaks inside the building and out. We already have cut down on washing the trucks and have been for a while now. We have an in house FMT who keeps an eye on our landscaping/irrigation and is already ahead of the game on this. We are in the process of checking with our local cities about pricing on drought resistant landscaping. Most of them are giving incentives for this. We used to wash every truck and trailer that came through our shop. Now because of the drought, we only wash the ones that really need it and on a case by case basis. We also have the low flow nozzles on our hoses.”

-Teri, U-Haul Company of Los Angeles East

“Because of the shortage of water, we have opted not to wash our trucks but rather thoroughly clean them down with a broom and clean our wipers with our glass cleaner. The backs of the trucks are also swept and mopped as to not be wasteful with water. Same goes for our shop. The trucks are washed with very minimal water consumption. The sprinklers are timed and in use at shorter times. These are monitored closely. “
-Luisa, U-Haul Company of Orange County

“Obviously, where we do have lawns, if the jurisdictions require less watering for lawns, we will and do comply. In some areas we have put “green bark” in planter boxes instead of grass or water intensive plantings. This “green bark”, is ground or shredded tire rubber dyed green, we use that to fill in the ground around shrubs and trees that are of drought “friendly” varieties.”
-Brooke, U-Haul Company of Fresno


Do you live in a drought-stricken area? What do you do to conserve water?

This is a publication of U-Haul Corporate Sustainability

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