If you’ve ever lived through a drought, which you probably have if you live in the United States where they’re common, then you’d be familiar with the warnings that come across your screen to conserve water. Unless you lived through a major, historic drought like the recent ones in California, then chances are you didn’t pay much mind to these warnings. However, it’s crucial in a time of drought that you do what you can to avoid wasting water. A drought is defined as “a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, and a shortage of water resulting from this.”

Even if you do not see any direct impacts of the water shortage (besides a browner lawn), droughts can be devastating and they are often referred to as a “creeping phenomenon” for the way they insidiously wreak havoc. Droughts can devastate crops and lead to massive losses of plant and animal life. For you, a drought may only be a minor inconvenience, but for farmers, fishers, and botanists whose livelihoods depend upon access to fresh water, a drought is a death sentence. Here are some ways, courtesy of the LA Times, that you can play your part and conserve water in a time of drought.

Inside

1. Reduce your shower time to just a few minutes and don’t waste water while you’re waiting for the shower to warm up. You may be uncomfortable for a few seconds from the shock of cold water, but think of all the water that goes down the drain in that minute of waiting for the water to reach a comfortable temperature. You could also turn the water off while you’re sudsing up to save water, and only turn it back on to rinse off. Use a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone to make sure you’re not taking too long.

2. Turn to faucet off while brushing your teeth. Only use water to wet your toothbrush, and turn it off when you’re not using it. You could even keep a reusable water bottle in the bathroom and only refill it when it gets low to ensure no water is wasted.

3. Post reminder notes on all the sinks in your home.

4. If you need hot water in the kitchen, try heating up cold water in a kettle or the microwave rather than waiting for the water to get warm.

5. Scrape uneaten food into the trash can instead of rinsing it down the sink.

6. Be sure to get any leaky faucets repaired.

7. Wait until you have a full load to do laundry.

Outside

1. Take your car to a car wash if it needs to be washed instead of washing it in the driveway because it can waste up to 100 gallons of water, and the runoff causes debris and toxins to enter storm drains and eventually the ocean.

2. Aerating your lawn could help cut down on how much water it needs to stay green.

3. Adjust your sprinklers so that they’re only hitting the portion of your lawn that needs to be watered, and not the sidewalk and street.

4. Reduce how many times you water your lawn and how long you run the sprinkler (shave off a few minutes).

5. Sweep your sidewalks with a broom to keep them tidy rather than using a hose.

6. Make sure your hose has a water-efficient spray nozzle and fix any leaks with rubber washers. Hoses without nozzles can waste up to eight gallons of water in the time it takes you to turn the spigot off.

7. If you have a pool, invest in a pool cover; the average pool loses 20,000 gallons of water a year due to evaporation.