Conserving water and energy (click here to read more about energy) are probably some of the best ways to begin living sustainably. They are easy ways you can incorporate into your daily routine without much though and effort. These tips will also help you save a lot of money in the long run and a lot of them can be done even while being lazy!
But, why should we bother saving water?
Saving water is incredibly important. While nearly 75% of the Earth is covered in water, only about 2.5% of Earth's water is fresh and suitable for drinking. That might seem small, but even a smaller amount can actually be accessed. Only about 1% of Earth's water is fresh and easily accessible to us. A majority of freshwater is trapped in glaciers. Therefore, only about 0.007% of Earth's water is available for it's more than 7 billion people.
Not only are human's made up of about 60% of water, but we also need water to produce our food and other products. It is estimated that by 2025 (that's just 5 years!), about 1.8 billion people will live in areas with water scarcity and an additional 2/3 of the popular living in water-stressed areas.
We need action now
I apologize if that causes you climate anxiety, but it's the truth. The facts need to be presented. People won't act unless they have a cause for action.
Don't fret, though, the weight of the world (literally) is not on your shoulders. At least, not yours alone.
While, yes, the majority of this burden should be on large corporations (I'm looking at your big oil) and other things of that nature, there is truly a lot we can do as a society to live more sustainably and truly help the Earth.
We can reduce our water and energy consumption as a small step.
Let's put water conservation into perspective:
Here is the difference we can make by preserving water. Keep in mind that these are averages taken from American house holds and these are just rough estimates. This number is only based off of how much water the average American family uses and the average amount each family can save by fixing leaky pipes alone!
So, here are 18 easy ways you can start conserving water today!
1. Go vegan: I am not going to sugar coat it, not eating meat truly has a huge impact on our water. Now, I am not perfect, but I always try my best, that's all it takes. One pound of beef requires about 1800 gallons of water. That is because cows can drink 30-40 gallons per day and the soy it takes to feed those cows is about 216 gallons per pound, and cows eat more than just one pound of soy. And this is just focusing on beef. Think about how much water also goes into chicken, pork, and dairy production. It is truly outrageous. Even cutting your meat intake in half can greatly reduce precious water consumption. I could go on and on, but we will leave that for another day.
2. Switch to low-flow faucet aerators: This allows less water to be pushed out of your faucets when you use them. They incorporate fast air into the water stream to allow the water pressure to seem higher without using nearly as much water. It is commonly seen in most new homes, but if you have an older house, you will likely have to manually switch it.
3. Switch to a low-flow shower head: The same goes for showers. For showers you have a few options, though: aerating (like I mentioned above), laminar-flow, and flow restrictor. Laminar flow is a shower head with individual streams of water and flow restrictor allows you to control the amount of water you need based on your water pressure preferences. You can read more about that here.
4. Switch to a low flush-toilet: This is different than faucets or shower heads. This is just a toilet that uses significantly less water than a full-flush toilet. What this means is that the tank in the back of your toilet won't be as big and require as much water to flush. You can either get a new toilet system or you can use a little life-hack: use a large stone, brick, or even a full water bottle and place it in your water tank after flushing and leave it in there for future uses. This allows your tank to not fill up as much and use less water per flush.
5. Don’t flush so much: This is pretty self explanatory, but I will give a few easy (and not-so-gross) examples, so if this is TMI for you, skip ahead. One thing we do is when we both use the restroom before bed, we only flush once instead of flushing for the both of us. Another thing I had to grow out of was not flushing the toilet multiple times when I poop. I grew up in a old farmhouse with poor water pressure and if you put too much into the bowl (TP or you know), it would clog. But, I now live in a very new home with better water pressure and it can handle a fuller load. A last tip is to not flush randomly. If you wipe off the seat and put a small piece of TP in there, don't flush. Wait until there is a need to flush.
6. Run your dishwasher and washing machine on green or energy efficient settings: This means that the appliance won’t waste energy heating or cooling your water, but rather just use the water at the temperature it is already set to. Some machines might even use less water on these settings. Check out what your appliance does on it's eco-friendly settings!
7. Plug the drain: When you have a lot of dishes to wash instead of running the faucet. An easy way to conserve water while doing the dishes by hand is to fill both sinks partially: one with soapy water for scrubbing and getting messy and the other with clear water for rinsing. This allows you to do the whole stack of dishes by hand without constantly running the water for minutes at a time.
8. Don’t run the water: While you are washing dishes, brushing your teeth, shaving, etc it is extremely wasteful to just let the water run without putting any use to it. Just don't let the water run when you don't need it to be running.
9. Take showers over baths: An average shower uses about 17.2 gallons if you take an 8 minute shower with an average flow shower head. A bath on the other hand uses anywhere from 35-50 gallons of water! A shower can save you over half the amount of water. And better yet...
10. Take timed showers: The average American takes about an 8 minute shower, but think about how much of that time is actually spent washing. Try not to just stand in the water and enjoy it, as tempting as it is. Per minute, the average shower uses about 7.9 liters or 2 gallons a minute. Start small and try cutting your shower down by one minute every week or every month and try not to stay in the shower longer than necessary.
11. Wait until the load is full: Don’t run the dishwasher, washing machine, and drying machine until the load is full to reduce the amount of water and energy used. The average appliance cannot detect how many items are in it to maximize the water usage. Your dishwasher will still use the same amount of water if you have one cup in it or if it is packed full, so wait until it is as full as you can get it before running it.
12. Don't over boil: When boiling water/making tea or coffee, only use the amount of water that you need and cover the pot to help it boil faster. Don't waste time boiling an entire pot of water for one cup of tea. Pour water into the cup you want to use, pout that into your kettle, and then let that boil. This will save a lot of time, energy, and water as well since most people tend to pour that extra water out! On that same note...
*BONUS: don't make too much coffee. Often times, people make way too much coffee and end up pouring a lot out. Measure the correct amount for yourself, your household, or your workplace and make more if necessary. But, try to avoid making too much and just pouring it out!
13. Think about gardening: Use a watering can versus a hose which uses significantly less water. If you have to use a hose, use an aerator like you would for your faucets and don't spray areas that don't need it. Also, water your plants in the early parts of the day to reduce evaporation. This allows you to not have to water them as much and therefore use less water.
14. Repurpose water: Catch water while you wait for your shower to heat up or use water from your dehumidifier to water your plants. You can also reuse water from boiling noodles or veggies instead of using fresh water. All of this water would otherwise go down the drain and can instead be used to nourish plants. Plus, drinking water doesn't have to be used on your plants!
15. If you have a dishwasher, use it: This typically uses less water than washing by hand. Most dishwashers in today's age are very water efficient. Of course, wait until your dishwasher is full, but it will save you water!
16. Fix leaky faucets and leaky pipes: leaky faucets can waste up to 3,000 gallons every year! If you have an issue, get it fixed. Also, make sure your shut off faucets completely, don’t let them drip until their next use! The same goes for toilets. To test if your toilet is leaking, put some food coloring in the toilet bowl at night. If you wake up and the color is gone, your toilet is leaking and needs fixed.
17. Cover up pools and hot tubs: This will help to keep heat in and to reduce evaporation. Therefore, you don't have to fill them up as often! Better yet, if you don't already have a pool or a hot tub, don't get one. They can be very expensive and wasteful. You can still enjoy community pools and hot tubs anyways.
18. Utilize rainwater: You can put out buckets or tubs and catch water while it rains. You can use this to water your indoor plants or save it for a day when your outdoor plants need watered. Or, you can put your indoor plants outside while it is raining.
Those are all the tips I have for now, but stay tuned for more as there are always more ways you can save the Earth, even if only a little bit. If you have any more tips, please let us know below!
I hope you enjoyed this post and even found some more easy water conservation tips to implement in your life. If you were inspired by this or think someone else can benefit from the information, I would really appreciate if you shared for more to read!
Thanks for reading :)