Consume Less: Water


Photo Credit, Ronald Eliassen Hole

Do you know how much water you use in a day?  No, not really?  I don’t blame you. It’s hard to get a grasp on how many gallons you use when you flush a toilet, or run the faucet for a few minutes, or wash a load of laundry. This is probably why so many American homes use more water than they need to.You’ll find all sorts of statistics about the outrageous amount of water different household activities use on average, but for me saving water is more than just a numbers game.  Saving water is a responsibility you have to the planet.

Why? Conserving water means more clean water is left in the planet’s water cycle for planets and animals to grow and thrive. It means saving the time and energy needed for water treatment plants to process dirty water, and it means saving money for your family.

10 Ways to Save Water:

1. Take shorter showers (and take showers instead of baths).  If you don’t want to be rushed, try turning off the water when you lather and shave, or use a nifty device like the EveryDropShowerSaver.  I don’t have one personally, but I’m looking forward to getting it. Or install a low-flow or water saving shower head.  So many ways to reduce water usage in the shower!

2. Wash only FULL loads of laundry.  Half loads use just as much as a full load would, and washing smaller loads means you may need to wash more loads over the course of the week. Full loads will save water and your time.

3. Use less water per flush. Place a full water bottle or brick in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used in each flush.  If you are able, install a new low-flow toilet, which are designed to be more efficient than older models.

4. Check for leaks.  You’d be surprised at how much water is wasted simply from leaky pipes or faucets or toilets.  And usually it’s as easy as tightening up a washer to stop a leak (this is why I have a man handy). You can check for leaks by reading 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 is a leak.

5. Run only a FULL dishwasher.  For the same reasons you should run only a full load of laundry.

6. Don’t leave water running.  You many think it’s not for that long, but every minute counts.  If you’re washing dishes by hand, and you have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a pan full of hot water.  Rinse fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under the running tap.  In the bathroom, turn the water off when brushing your teeth. To rinse your razor, fill the sink with a few inches of water instead of keeping the water running.

7. Keep water in the fridge. Running tap water until it is cooled off will waste water.  Here’s an awesome article on the benefits of keeping water in the fridge.

8. Insulate water pipes.  This will reduce the time it takes for water to get hot, meaning you don’t need to watch wasted water go down the drain.

9. Water your lawn and garden early in the day.  Preferably before 9am so the water soaks into the ground instead of evaporating into the air. Consider collecting rain water for landscaping use instead of using a hose.

10. Don’t run the hose when washing your car.  Fill a bucket with soapy water and only use the hose for rinsing.  If you have a spray nozzle that’s even better!  The distribute the water evenly and are more efficient at rinsing.

There are many more in depth steps you can take and bigger projects that you can do to conserve water, but this list is simple enough that anyone can easily implement these changes into their daily lives.  After all, it’s all these small changes, made day after day, that will make a big difference.


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