March 20th, 2009 by Marika Collins
Sunday is World Water Day. With the world water crisis representing one of the most significant public health issues facing the world today, we need to find ways to conserve this precious resource now more than ever.
The UN expects that 3.4 billion people will be living in countries defined as water-scarce by 2025. When water is scarce, people are forced to consume contaminated water.
Here are ten simple things you can do to cut down on your water consumption today:
1. Consider the water footprint of your diet. Some foods require a lot more water to produce than others. According to WaterFootprint, it takes 140 liters (35 gallons) of water to make just one cup of coffee, 1,000 liters (270 gallons) to make one liter of milk, and 16,000 liters to make one pound of beef. Check out this online water footprint calculator to see how much water some common foods need in order to be produced. The same principles of decreasing the carbon footprint of your diet (eating local, eating organic, and eating less meat) are generally the same principles for decreasing the water footprint.
2. Don’t leave the tap running needlessly. If you are washing your face and you need to get the tap warm, use that initial cooler water to brush your teeth, and then wash your face afterwards when the hot water starts coming out.
3. Choose and use your appliances wisely. Use energy star appliances whenever possible and always use them at full capacity. Choose economy settings and don’t run the dishwasher half-full.
4. Convert your toilet to a dual flush, and don’t flush it more than necessary. If it’s yellow let it mellow, you know? But you still have to flush. Thankfully, converting your toilet to a dual flush is easier than ever, thanks to the Tap-n-Flush. It’s a remarkably easy installation, a very intuitive device, and pays for itself in water savings super quickly. If you don’t want to convert and still want to save water, you might find this toilet tank insert super helpful, too…it’ll reduce the amount of water used every time you flush. But if you really want to up your water conservation game, check out the TapNFlush’s dual flush toilet converter review. The device is simple to install, saves a ton of water, and pays for itself more than twice over in the first year alone. Here’s a video of the device.
5. Make sure every tap in your home has a high efficiency faucet aerator. Faucet aerators are the little pieces of hardware that screw into the bottom of faucets. High efficiency aerators can reduce flow by 1.5 gallons per minute or more…saving you piles of money and saving lots of water. Check out this high efficiency faucet aerator product review from Green Living Ideas.
6. Stop that leaky toilet. Not only does it sound annoying, it wastes loads of water. Leaks can often be fixed by making minor adjustments. Test your toilet using some dye tablets, available in this all-in-one water conservation kit.
7. Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. According to American Water & Energy Savers, a faucet that drips at the rate of one drop per second will waste 2,700 gallons per year.
8. You don’t need to take shorter showers, necessarily, but some hardware will help cut the water use every time you shower. At the very least replace your shower head with a high efficiency one. These are designed to maintain water pressure while using much less water than the old-fashioned sort. Treehugger says you will reduce your shower water use by 20 to 60 percent by doing so. Check out this high efficiency showerhead installation tutorial to see how easy it is to cut your shower’s water use (and save piles of money).
9. Never throw water away. If you pour too much out or have some left in your glass, use it. Pour the surplus into your dog’s water dish, water a plant, or add it to your water kettle.
10. Set up a rain barrel this summer. You can collect rain water from your eaves to water your garden.
There is so much that we as individuals can do to help conserve water. Our collective conservation and advocacy efforts will not only reduce our monthly water bills, but will go a long way towards alleviating this growing problem.
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