Without water, nothing on Earth could survive, so you’d think people would do their best to protect and conserve water, right?
We live in a world where many people believe there’s a never-ending supply of water–as if the faucets in their homes are hooked up to a magical well.
But the truth is the future of the world’s water supply is much more fragile than we think.
Take South Africa, for example.
In 2018, the government announced that the country was just months away from Day Zero, meaning the day millions of people would be without water.
Well, Day Zero never came because–guess what?–the people stopped wasting water.
But South Africa’s water scare showed the world how close some parts of the world are to running out of the good stuff.
So, how can we conserve water?
As individuals, there are dozens of new strategies and habits we can implement into our lives to make big changes.
Let’s stop being wasteful and dive straight into ways you can protect your water supply.
1. Why Should We Conserve Water?
First, we need to clarify why you should conserve water.
Of course, one of the reasons is to ensure that everyone has access to clean water.
But we also need to think about the environment and where exactly our water is coming from.
Most countries, states, and cities get water from lakes, rivers, reservoirs, or the ground.
As more and more of these natural resources dry up, it has a devasting impact on the surrounding ecosystems that also rely on these water sources.
When ecosystems fail, plants and animals die or are forced to relocate, and the other plants and animals that rely on them die or are forced to relocate.
It’s a bad scenario.
We also need to think about the energy it takes to supply water.
In the United States, just drinking water comes out to around 2% of the country’s energy usage.
That may not sound like a lot, so let’s put it a bit differently.
That comes out to 45 million tons of greenhouse gases released into the air every year.
So, do you see why conserving water is so important now?
2. Bathing and Showering Strategies TO Conserve Water
Bathing and showering are a part of our daily routines–at least, we hope.
For most of us, changing our bathing and showering habits is the hands-down easiest way we can conserve water.
The average bath uses around 30 gallons. Compare that to the 17 gallons of water the average shower uses.
So, if you’re a bath lover, we’re sorry to say that it’s time to become a shower person.
But shower lovers shouldn’t start patting themselves on the back just yet. Seventeen gallons is still a lot of water.
Here is a list of ways you can conserve even water during your shower.
Install a low-flow showerhead.
Take shorter showers (Five to ten minutes should be the maximum shower time, but shorter is always better).
Only take one shower a day.
Turn the water off while applying soap, and turn the water back on to rinse.
*If you really want to get extreme, you could put a large bucket/bin in your shower and stand in it to collect all the water you use. You can then use it to water your garden.
If you must take a bath, only fill the tub halfway.
Keep in mind that every minute your water is running, you’re using about 2.5 gallons of water, so you can make real changes with very little effort.
When thinking of ways to conserve water, your toilet might not be the first thing that comes to your mind, but it’s an important thing to consider.
Older toilets use anywhere between 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush! That’s a multi-minute shower for just one flush!
The good news is that newer toilets only use about 1.6 gallons per flush–better, but still significant.
Upgrading your toilet is one of the easier ways to cut back on your water usage (if you can afford to do so).
With a more water efficient toilet, you wouldn’t have to make any lifestyle changes, and still, you would be conserving more water–sounds like a good plan, right?
Many toilets nowadays have a dual flush, which allows you to flush with less water when you go #1 (liquids) and a bit more water when you go #2 (solids).
Never use your toilet as a waste bin.
If you frequently throw cigarette butts, tissue, gum, or liquids in the toilet and flush them, you’re wasting a significant amount of water.
Only use the toilet for toilet-related things, as in when you need to use the bathroom!
Remember, each flush requires anywhere between 1.6 and 7 gallons of water, depending on your toilet.
So, only flush when you have to.
4. Faucets (Kitchen and Bathroom)
Faucets are a big source of water waste, but with a few simple habit changes, you can save gallons of water and reduce your energy consumption.
Faucets are mainly used for washing your hands, food, and dishes, brushing your teeth, getting water to drink and cook, and for other miscellaneous things like cleaning.
In just one minute, they can produce 1 to 2 gallons of water, and that adds up quickly!
How Can We Conserve Water with Kitchen Faucets?
Install an aerator to reduce the amount of water that flows out of your faucet.
Turn off the water while applying soap to your hands.
Turn off the water while washing dishes (only turn it back on to rinse). Using an energy-efficient dishwasher uses less water than washing by hand. (See the section below for more information).
Don’t waste water by waiting for it to get cold. Fill up a container and put it in the fridge so that cold water is always available.
Use spray mops instead of filling up buckets.
Use less water for cooking and then reuse water. We often use more than the required amount of water to do things like cook pasta. If there’s any water left over, use it to water the plants.
How Can We Conserve Water with Bathroom Faucets?
Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Doing this simple act can reduce a family’s water usage by 10 gallons a day!
Turn off the water for other sink usages, like washing your face, shaving, etc. If you’re not using water, it shouldn’t be running!
Use cool/cold water as much as possible to avoid using energy for heating.
Minimize the flow of water by just slightly turning on the faucet.
It may come as a surprise that using a dishwasher likely saves more water than washing dishes by hand.
Seems strange, right?
Well, when you wash your dishes in the sink, you’ll go through about 20+ gallons of water, depending on your washing style and how water conscious you are.
That’s a lot of water–about the same amount as the average shower.
A dishwasher, on the other hand, can get the same job done by just using 3 to 4 gallons of water–a big difference!
Older models may use a bit more water, around 10 gallons, but that’s still significantly less than washing dishes by hand.
But how much electricity do dishwashers use?
Dishwashers use around 1.2 to 2.4 kWh, which isn’t an unreasonably high amount, but it is something to consider.
There are many models available that run on an eco-friendly mode to further reduce energy consumption.
But at the end of the day, unless you’re willing to be extremely stringent with your water usage while washing dishes by hand, using a dishwasher will be the best way to ensure you are conserving as much water as possible.
6. Laundry Room Strategies
You can only avoid washing your clothes for so long, but eventually, you’re going to have to use some water to do it.
Unlike washing dishes, washing clothes by hand will save more water than using a washing machine.
Now, the problem is most people don’t have the time, energy, or space to do this.
But if you do, give it a try!
Handwashing only requires about five gallons of water compared to the 20+ gallons that a washing machine uses!
But even if you can’t wash clothes by hand, there are plenty of easy and effective things you can do.
Here is a list of ways you can save water in the laundry room.
Run your washing machine on cool/cold to conserve energy.
Don’t wash your towel after one use.
- Hang up your shower towel, let it dry, and use it again.
- Use face towels to wipe down sinks/counters before washing them.
Set the appropriate load size. You can set the load size to small, medium, large, or extra-large. Some machines have an auto-sensing setting to ensure the right amount of water is used every time.
Wash a full load instead of multiple small loads.
Install a water-saving washing machine.
7. Gardening Strategies To Conserve Water
Keeping our lawns and gardens healthy and green is a rewarding activity.
But all those plants require a lot of watering.
So, before you panic and think that you have to say goodbye to your beautiful garden, let’s check out a few easy gardening strategies to save water and keep your plants alive!
How Can We Conserve Water in the Yard/Garden?
Don’t water in the heat of the day to reduce evaporation. Instead, water plants and schedule your sprinklers for the morning or night. This will also leave more water on the ground for creatures to drink.
Collect rainwater with a barrel. Use what you collect to water plants.
Put down a layer of mulch. Mulch is known for being a wonderful way to prevent the sun from evaporating moisture in the ground.
Make sure your hoses are securely fastened. Gallons of water can be wasted by hoses that aren’t properly connected.
Install a soaker hose. This type of hose releases water through thousands of small holes in order to water certain areas efficiently. They are inexpensive and an easy way to save water.
8. Checking for Leaks
Pipe and faucet leaks are a big issue when it comes to water conservation.
A small leak might seem harmless, but it could waste dozens to hundreds of gallons of water each day–that’s no joke!
Water bursts are on the extreme side of the spectrum, which can result in thousands of gallons of lost water in just a few minutes, depending on the size of the pipe.
So, stay on top of your plumbing to ensure there are no sneaky little drips happening.
Not only will this reduce your water footprint, but it’ll save you money on your water bill each month–what’s better than that?
How to Check for Leaks
Keep an eye on your water meter and water bill (strange fluctuations could indicate a leak).
Look for puddles inside cabinets where any plumbing is located.
Look for discoloration or bubbling along the walls.
Investigate musty smells.
Put dye in the tank of your toilets and see if it leaks into the bowl.
9. Food Waste
Conserving water doesn’t just mean turning off faucets, taking shorter showers, or installing an upgraded washing machine–there’s more!
Eliminating food waste is one of the best ways you can help the environment and fight against water scarcity.
Here’s a shocking reality for you: Around 30 to 40% of all the food in the United States gets wasted each year, which means more than 20% of all the water used to grow and produce food gets wasted.
And that does not include the water that already gets wasted from standard agriculture practices.
So, do your best to throw as little food away as possible.
Here’s how to prevent food waste.
Make meal plans
Properly store food
10. Avoiding Certain Foods
We just talked about not wasting food, but you should also be mindful of what foods you’re buying.
Some foods require enormous amounts of water to produce.
If you want to reduce your personal water footprint, you could avoid eating these foods.
Meat (beef requires the most water in the meat industry)
Almonds, Cashews, and Pistachios
Everyone is allowed to choose the foods they do or don’t eat, but you may want to consider cutting back on the foods above and replacing them with items that require less water to reduce your personal water usage!
11. Setting House Rules To Conserve Water
Changing your habits takes time.
If you live with others, set house rules to remind everyone to conserve water.
Write the rules on a whiteboard and hold each other accountable.
You can monitor your water meter and bill to see how well the house as a whole is reducing its water usage.
You could even make it a game and reward yourselves at the end of the month by going out for a nice dinner.
Make it fun!
12. Final Thoughts
So, how can we conserve water?
The answer…many ways!
There are dozens and dozens of little changes we can make that have a big impact on the environment.
Start with baby steps and work your way up to stricter conservation measures.
Trying to do too much too soon will increase your chances of not sticking with new habits, and that’s not what you want to happen!
We wish you luck on your journey of saving water, and thank you for looking out for others and the environment!
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