I really never gave a lot of thought to water. I turned on the shower, brushed my teeth, flushed the toilet and watered my garden without hesitation. I took it for granted. Sometimes I even wasted it.
Until I realized that the abundance of water is an illusion.
On hot days my kids run through a sprinkler in our back yard. The garden hose runs for a few hours.
- A garden hose uses 291 gallons of water per hour
There are 5 people in our family. The toilet is constantly flushing.
- The bathroom is the largest consumer of indoor water. The toilet alone can use 27 percent of household water. Older toilets use between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water per flush.
There are days when I shower twice a day.
- An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.
I have fallen asleep to the sound of water dripping.
- If every household in America had a faucet that dripped once each second, 928 million gallons of water a day would leak away.
Nearly 1 billion people in the world don’t have access to safe, clean water. In the U.S. alone the population has more than doubled over the past 50 years and our need for water is steadily increasing while the supply is diminishing. There are at least 36 states facing the possibility of water shortage by 2013. The need to conserve water is becoming more and more critical.
10 simple ways to conserve water in and around your home
- Don’t rinse the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. This could save up to 10 gallons of water per load.
- Install water-saving shower heads. Regular shower head uses 2 to 10 gallons per minute and water-saver shower heads use 2 to 5 gallons per minute.
- Take shorter showers. One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.
- Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth and shaving. This could save up to 300 gallons of water per month.
- Fill your washing machine and dishwasher before running. Try to squeeze in that last dish or fit that pair of pants into the washing machine.
- Use mulch in your yard around trees and plants. Mulch holds the moisture in and plants will require less frequent watering.
- Don’t flush your toilet after every use (I know, counterintuitive). If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water of clean water instead of running water from the tap.
- Collect and save the water used for rinsing fruits and vegetables and reuse it to water houseplants.
- Check your water meter for water leaks. Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there’s a leak.
If each one of us commits to doing just one of these things, we can help reduce the likelihood of water shortages both now and in the future.