It’s hard to imagine running out of water, but it could happen. Between 1950 and 2000, the population in the United States doubled while public demand for water more than tripled. The extra stress on water supplies and distribution systems threatens our health as well as the environment. The good news is there are plenty of small things you can do to conserve water and help avert future water shortages.
Every Drop Counts
If you ever wonder whether the small changes you make really matter, consider this: each of us uses an average of 100 gallons of water per day – enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses ! Just think how much you water you can conserve if your whole family becomes more water wary. Here are some easy ways:
- Cook Smart. Peel and clean vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under running water.
- Slow the Flow. Install a slow-flow faucet to reduce water consumption up to 50 percent.
- Shorten Showers. Take short showers instead of baths, and consider using a shower timer. To make it fun for kids, turn it into a game to see who can get the most “squeaky clean” in under three minutes!
- Test Your Tank. Add 12 drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait an hour. Look to see if any color seeped through the tank, a fitting or into the toilet bowl. If so, you may have a leak.
- Look for Leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is used. If it doesn’t read exactly the same, you have a leak.
- Tap Out. Instead of letting the tap run until water gets cold, keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator, and use it to refill certified reusable water bottles instead of opting for single-use plastic ones.
- Let It Grow. Raise your lawnmower blade to at least three inches; taller grass holds soil moisture better.
- Sweep Up. Clean the driveway and sidewalk with a broom instead of a hose to save hundreds of gallons of water.
- Speak Up. When you see an open hydrant, errant sprinkler or broken pipe, tell the property owner, local authorities or your Water Management District.
More Conservation Tips
Water is the most common compound on Earth. In fact, most of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Life extends from it; an average human can go approximately two months without food, but less than a week without water. Theoretically enough water exists to sustain the entire world; however, from a consumer standpoint, water conservation makes sense. You could greatly reduce your bill by simply taking shorter showers or fixing leaky faucets. The following are procedures that could greatly reduce a water bill.
- Check for any leaking pipes or faucets. A slow dripping faucet could waste as much as 20 gallons a day.
- Make sure your toilet isn’t leaking by putting food coloring in the tank. Wait a few minutes to see if any of the food coloring makes it to the basin. If you see the color, you have a leak that could produce 100 gallons of wasted water a day.
- Wait until you have a full load to do laundry or wash dishes.
- Put aerators on your faucets to reduce excess water flow. Also, you can reduce water flow in your shower from 4.5 gallons to as little as 1.2 gallons per minute by installing a water saving shower head.
- If you take pride in your lawn, you may not realize how much water is wasted in the process of watering. Simple things such as watering at the correct time of day could greatly reduce your water bill. The following are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you engage in lawn care activities.
- Water in the early morning or at dusk. You could lose up to 30% of the water applied to the lawn due to evaporation in the mid-day sun.
- Make certain that you are watering grass and not sidewalks or driveways.
- Use a broom to clean your driveway after mowing instead of water.
- Aerate your lawn regularly to ensure that the water absorbs properly.
- Long grass means less evaporation. Keep grass about two inches to shade roots and prevent moisture loss.
- Water Footprint Calculator – National Geographic
- Water Saver Home
- Watering Calculator
- The Water Family—online conservation game
- Backyard Conservation
- Rain Barrels and tips
- EPA WaterSense—efficiency made easy
- Watermiser—water conservation supplies
- Water Conservation Products—and more tips!
- Footfaucet—auto-shut-off faucet foot pedals
- How to Repair Toilets