Drought is becoming a major issue worldwide. Crops and livestock die, soil erodes, forest fires swell and long-term drought impacts food production. When the water supply suffers, food prices rise. Chronic drought affects the quality of existing drinking water and causes diseases like the West Nile Virus that breed in stagnant water. Yet, it’s the overuse of water that places us in a position of unpreparedness when drought arises. A leaky faucet wastes more than 100 gallons of water yearly, adding to a hefty water bill. Thankfully, there are scores of painless ways to conserve water and do your bit for our thirsty planet.
Take advantage of the rain. Using rain barrels is a cost-effective and smart way to saturate plants and lawns without drawing from the main water supply. There are other methods of water management, including vegetated rooftops, tree plantings and succulents, and creating rain gardens. On a related note, if you need to water your outdoor plants, choose the right time of day (early morning or evening) when it won’t instantly evaporate in the heat of the sun and the plants will best absorb it.
Turn on the dishwasher
It’s actually more wasteful to wash dishes by hand; you use up to 27 gallons of water per load when washing by hand versus as little as 3 gallons with an ENERGY STAR-rated dishwasher. So use that appliance to save both time and water.
Stop by your local car wash
Sure, you have to pay but allowing your local car wash to do the job could save up to 100 gallons.
Test your toilet
Drop a dye tablet or food coloring in the tank yearly to see if the color of the water in the bowl changes color. If it does, your toilet needs a replacement rubber flapper or fill mechanism. Remember, undetected internal leaks from tank to bowl could waste up to 100 gallons a day. (And don’t forget the classic water-saving Toilet Mantra: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”)
Showers use way less water than baths. Some folks even include a bucket to collect water for their houseplants, etc.
Some health experts also note that unless we’re extra dirty or sweaty, we don’t really need to shower each and every day. Consider cutting down if/when you can.
Reuse your towel
Use the same towel for at least a week. Your body should be clean after a shower. So, just hang it up to dry and ready after your next shower.
Maintain a special water cup or bottle
Stop grabbing a new cup every time you feel thirsty; instead, have a special cup or bottle that you can refill throughout the day. There will be fewer dishes to wash.
Keep cold tap water in the fridge
Running to the tap for cold water is wasteful. Fill a pitcher with water and keep it cool in the fridge.
Invest in that new high-efficiency appliance or fixture
Chances are your utility company may offer rebates or other incentives when you buy new water-saving showerheads, faucets, clothes washers, or toilets. Even if not, you still end up saving tons of money on water costs in the long run.
Cover your swimming pool
Don’t just cover your pool during cool months; water evaporates during warm weather as well. Consider a portable, roller-type device that can mechanically retract when you go swimming, then cover the pool when you’re done.
There are other easy water-saving hacks like turning off the tap as you brush your teeth, and only doing full loads of laundry. These small steps will go a long way towards saving every precious drop of H20.