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Beat The Drought: How To Use Water From Your Washer For Your Lawn

VENTURA ( — Saving water is the goal but not everyone knows the end game.

"Any amount of water we can save is going to benefit everybody," says Dave Hansen with the Ventura County Building and Safety Department.

Reusing waste water is one way the agency hopes people will help comply with California's new and strict drought policies.

CBS2's Amy Johnson spoke to Hansen about what the agency is calling the "gray water disposal system" -- turning water seemingly without purpose and giving it a use -- like using water from washing machines and using it for irrigation.

"This is very simple," said Hansen.

Hansen showed Johnson the system that he says cost between $150-$200 and can be done in a weekend project. The key  - you don't need a permit for the system thanks to chapter 16 of the California plumbing code, so almost anybody can do it.

"We're adding a valve and we're adding a pipe," says Hansen.

The valve allows the water to go out to your yard  but you need to use environmentally friendly detergent - for laundry soiled with waste or chemicals, you send it to the sewer.

Hansen and others will explain how the system works in a series of free workshops that begin later this month in Ventura.

"The water comes down into your two inch pipe, into the ground. The pipe needs to be covered by at least a minimum of 2-9 inches of mulch or soil cover."

The water has to be kept from your foundation and can go to your trees and your shrubs.

"It makes sense because we really don't have enough rain," says homeowner Margarita Ozuna of Simi Valley.

She said while she likes the idea she won't rush to get a system set up at her home.

"It depends on how much the detergents are going to cost," she said, "how much the equipment is going to cost. You kind of have to weight that out with what you're paying now and what you're going to be paying in the future."

This system has been approved in Ventura County but if you're interested in setting it up in your own home .it's important to check with your local building and safety department.

For more information about the program, click here.

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