The team at Metropia cares about what gets in the air, but we don’t forget about that glistening, precious liquid that no one can live without.

Most of us automatically think of the desert as the most arid climate, but any lack of rain in such notably dry places is only relative. Drought has struck places that are historically known for an abundance of water in the past few decades, namely due to unusual warmth in the weather patterns. According to the Palmer Drought Index, which is used by NOAA to measure relative dryness or wetness affecting water-sensitive economies for the United States, indicated that the hardest hit areas in the past year were the heart of Texas and the entire Northwest (rainy Seattle? Seriously?). And who could have missed the severe drought issue in agricultural California over the past couple of years, even if the news headlines were only in your periphery.

Our carbon footprint has become deeply imprinted into the earth, affecting the climate adversely. Today that is common knowledge, but we are still learning ways to lighten our impression. With the knowledge that events in the natural world are a chain reaction, Metropia’s ecosystem, composed of businesses, members of local communities, and transportation agencies, all work together to drive better cities in hopes that our efforts result in mitigating environmental factors that produce drought.

Here are a few simple ways you can achieve a more water-efficient lifestyle:

Stop leaks
This step will not only save on your water bill, but it will avoid wasting the precious resource. Monitor your water bill every month. If you notice an unexplained increase in your water usage, you will need to explore whether or not you have a leak. Have your plumbing inspected and keep a regular watch under your sinks for moisture. If all is dry on your end, urge the city to check the water main for your neighborhood or district.

Plant drought resistant plants
While rock gardens can be very decorative, most people enjoy a little bit of green in their landscape. Choose water efficient plant life, such as cacti, most acacias and drought resistant perennials, usually Mediterranean in origin. If you desire a grassy area, nurseries supply great drought-resistant sods.

Recycle water
You can pipe grey water from your laundry into an irrigation system to water your plants, even edibles! If you DIY, view this helpful video to learn how: http://bit.ly/1Tah5Dg Make sure to use biodegradable detergent free of dyes and fragrances. Follow this link to shop for eco-friendly detergents: http://bit.ly/1KHBFth

Ban bottled water
Companies who sell bottled water make their bottles recyclable as a green gesture, but the process of making the bottle nullifies that benefit. Most people pick up a bottle of water for convenience during a busy day, but if they don’t have easy access to a recycle bin the empty bottle winds up in the trash. It takes at least 3 times the amount of water to make the bottle as the capacity the bottle holds! Emissions-producing processes are used to manufacture the bottle, plus fossil fuels are used to distribute the finished product. To reduce water waste, attach a filter to your kitchen tap or invest in a filtration pitcher and carry a reusable bottle.

Invest in water-efficient appliances
Some cities provide a rebate to households who purchase water-conservative appliances. The average home allocates roughly 20% of their water usage toward laundry, so swapping your old water waster for an efficient machine would make a substantial impact. Check with your local water department for rebate programs. If you live in Tucson, learn more by following this link: http://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/rebate