As you may have heard or read, on July 9, 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for Santa Clara County. The Santa Clara Valley Water Board of Directors has also declared a water shortage emergency for the county and called for a mandatory 15% reduction in water use from 2019 water use levels.

At the same time, due to the extreme heat in California, wildfires in Oregon and the high demand for electricity, the California Independent System Operator issued a Flex Alert last week. The Flex Alert encouraged California residents to take immediate steps to conserve energy to help reduce the strain on the power grid, limit possible power outages and minimize the risk of local wildfires.

The Los Altos City Council was set to consider adopting a Drought Preparedness and Water Conservation Resolution at Tuesday’s council meeting – held after the Town Crier’s print deadline – and key to these efforts is voluntary conservation by residents. As a result, I would like to challenge all of us to take immediate action to help conserve energy and water. There have been several press releases and publications that list the many ways we can all help, some more costly than others. I have identified the following 10 things we could all start doing today and continue through the summer months. These things may become the norm for most of us. Please also share this list with your children and grandchildren so they can help us in our voluntary conservation efforts.

• Turn off unnecessary lights.

• Unplug unused electrical items.

• Close window coverings to keep your home cool.

• Charge electric vehicles in the mornings, or after 9 p.m.

• Clear the area around your air-conditioner unit to allow for better circulation.

• Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, shaving, washing vegetables or hand-washing dishes.

• Take shorter showers or take a bath instead.

• Reduce the number of times you water your lawn per week, even by just one day.

• Wash only full loads in your washing machine.

• Use a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Please email me at nfligor@losaltosca.gov and tell me what you are doing to conserve energy and water. With your permission, I will share your efforts at our Aug. 24 city council meeting. Also, let me know if there is anything else the city can do to support our residents during this time.

For more information on what we can all do and the resources and programs available to help, visit calwater.org, svcleanenergy.com, pge.com or watersavings.org.

Neysa Fligor is mayor of Los Altos.