According to the UN, there could be as many as 3.4 billion people living in countries classified as “water scarce” by the year 2025. Even here in America, many people live in drought-stricken areas where water is extra precious.
The good news is that every last one of us can help by looking for ways to use water more responsibly, and it’s a lot easier than you might think. Start by making a few simple changes at home, and you’re well on your way.
1. Get smarter about how you shower.
The shower is by far the place a lot of us use the most water, so it makes sense to start your efforts there. Start by reducing the amount of time you spend showering overall. Cut your showers short whenever you can. You may also want to consider asking yourself whether or not you really need as many showers as you actually take.
Also, older showerheads can deliver water at astonishing rates of up to 5 gallons per minute. If you haven’t already done so, consider purchasing and installing a high-efficiency showerhead instead. They can reduce the amount of shower water you use up by as much as 20-60%.
2. Never leave the tap running if you can help it.
You can also save gallons of water every day by turning off your tap whenever you can. Need to brush your teeth or wash your hands? Try turning the water on just long enough to dampen your toothbrush or hands before turning it off while you do your thing. Then turn it back on again when you’re finished.
When you really do need to let the water run for a bit (i.e. because you need it to get warm before you wash your face), consider reserving the additional water in a bucket or other container. Then use it to water your plants later on or give it to your pet to drink.
It seems like a really small change to be sure, but it can make a huge difference in your water savings over time. This is especially the case when you get your whole family involved.
3. Cut down on flushing.
The toilet is another household fixture that uses an astronomical amount of water every day, so it represents even more great ways to be water-smart. If you haven’t already done so, replace your older model toilets with modern low-flow alternatives that use less water per flush.
You’ll also want to start questioning the number of times you flush. Consider getting your family on board with the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule of thumb. That alone will save many gallons of water each and every year.
4. Make repairs in a timely manner.
A leaky pipe, dripping faucet or running toilet may seem like it’s more of an annoyance than anything else, but it can add up to gallons of water wasted over time. Those gallons add up a lot more quickly than you might think, too! Get in the habit of fixing leaks or taking care of DIY plumbing upgrades as soon as you notice they need to be done.
Your water bill can also clue you in quickly to possible leaks in places that are harder to see. If you notice a sudden unexplained spike in your water expenses, a hidden leak could well be the culprit. Have a professional look over your lines as soon as possible.
5. Consider secondary ways to reduce your water usage.
Power plants require an immense amount of water in order to run, so you can indirectly reduce your water footprint by using less power at home. Turn off lights when they’re not needed, upgrade to energy efficient appliances and use electricity wisely in general.
Your diet is another good way to indirectly reduce your indirect water usage, as some foods require a lot more water to produce than others. Consider reducing the amount of meat you eat, switching to organic produce where possible and making it a point to eat local.
It’s not just a good way to save water. It’s healthier for you, as well. Give it a try today!