Did you know that while 70% of the Earth is covered in water, only 2% of that is fresh water, and 1.6% of that is locked in the polar ice caps? That only leaves .4% for the entire world to share. (via Save the Water) In the US, the average person uses 80-100 gallons of water every day, compared to only 5 gallons per day in the Medieval times (Save The Water). With that, there are about 1.1 billion people that do not have access to safe water in the world. When you think of how important water is to our daily lives and the functioning of our bodies, that number is devastating.
There are many reasons why water conservation is so important, not only for humans, but all living things.
The less water used or wasted by people, the less clean water will become contaminated. In some cases, using excess amounts of water puts strain on septic and sewage systems, leading to contamination of groundwater, as untreated, dirty water seeps from the sewage system into the ground. –The Water Page
Conserving water can help reduce energy and costs to your family. Not only that, but it can help cities plan for the future and become more efficient. If all of our freshwater is contaminated or wasted, we won’t have that water available for future generations. Below you will find several easy ways to conserve water in and around your home:
- Don’t keep your faucet running! Turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth or soaping up hands. Turning off you faucet while brushing teeth alone can save up to 200 gallons of water per month.
- Only wash when you have full loads. Wait until you have a full load of clothes or dishes before running your washing machine or dishwasher
- Take shorter showers. Shortening your showers by 2 minutes, can cut your water use by 10 gallons. (Source)
- Change to high-efficient appliances and devices. If you can afford it, switching over to a higher efficiency dishwasher or washing machine can save a lot of water and energy. Installing a low-flow shower head and water-saving toilet can also decrease the amount of water your home uses.
- Collect rainwater. Rain barrels can collect rain from gutters and downspouts. This water can then be used later to water plants, gardens, and even used in a toilet. Some cities and states even offer incentives for using rain barrels.
- Use mulch in garden beds. Mulch not only looks nice but has benefits. Mulch slows the rate of evaporation so the amount of watering needed decreases. It also discourages weed growth.
- Water in the early morning. Water plants and grass in the early morning hours. This allows the water to soak into the ground before the warmest part of the day which means there is less evaporation. Watering at night also has this benefit, but can encourage fungus growth.
- Water the proper amount. Watering your grass and plants too little doesn’t allow the water to soak all the way to the roots, which in turn means the water will quickly evaporate. Too much watering can diminish plant health and causes yellowing of plants.
- Meatless Monday! I know switching to a vegetarian lifestyle may not work for everyone, but incorporating a meatless day could have big benefits. According to Peta it takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat. To grow 1 pound of wheat it takes only 25 gallons of water.
- Don’t let good water go down the drain. Running the shower to get hot water or the sink faucet for cold drinking water can waste a lot of water. If you love cold water to drink, keep a container of water in the fridge at all times. Collect the water you run as you wait for hot shower water and use in other ways around the house. Instead of dumping leftover water from glass, a cooled pot of boiling water, or even a bottle of water, use this water for your plants.
As you can see there are many simple changes that can be implemented to help save water around your home and to make a small difference in the world. As we have said all month, all it takes is small changes to make an impact for our planet. Please look back at our previous posts this month and under the green living category for more Earth friendly tips to implement all year long!
How do you save water in your home? Please comment below with your tips or with any Earth friendly tips you want to share on this last day of Earth month.