Are you a Water Hog? Simple Ways to Save Water
By, Joanne Troppello
Do you know how much water you and your family use each day? The answer may surprise you and hopefully, it will cause us all to make some necessary changes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), average American families uses approximately 400 gallons of water per day and “70% occurs indoors.” Water is our most precious commodity. We can’t survive longer than three days without water. We can last longer without food, but not water. In a message to the press, actress Kristen Bell, said, “The average US household wastes about 10,000 gallons of water every year: enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.” Wow, that’s a lot of water!
Of course, we not only use water for drinking, but also for cooking, cleaning, flushing toilets, washing clothes and also for our own personal hygiene purposes during bathing and brushing teeth etc. Can we stop using water all together? Obviously not; however, we should be conscious of how we can do our own part in our own households to conserve water. If everyone did his or her part, the work would get done. Take that same perspective into your water use.
Now, even if you’re not one of the save-the-world kind of people, have you checked your water bill lately? There are simple tips that you can begin doing today to start conserving water and saving on your own water bill. Now isn’t that motivation enough?
Ms. Bell teamed up with Neutrogena and The Nature Conservancy for a campaign Jump In. Jump Out. Join In. campaign to conserve water. The major goal of this campaign was to conserve five million gallons of water and “bring awareness to domestic water issues.”
So where can you start? One thing that we do in our household and I’ve grown up doing this in my parent’s house (what can I say, my mom was always conscious of trying to save on her water bill)—don’t let the water in the faucet run. Whether you’re washing dishes, brushing your teeth or washing your face, you don’t need to leave the water running the entire time you’re doing any of those tasks. That’s a very simple way to start conserving water.
Another thing that you can do is to take shorter showers. Don’t fill up the bath water as high as you usually do, or at least start taking quicker showers rather than baths all the time. For the ladies, shaving in the shower takes longer and uses up more water. I’ve started to turn the water off while shaving. I have a container that I leave in the shower to fill up with water to rinse the razor in.
Conserve water when doing laundry and washing dishes. Make sure that you check the load size and set the washing machine to use less water for smaller loads of clothes. If you have an Energy Star certified dishwasher, you’ll use only about 3 gallons of water per load. Having an Energy Star certified dishwasher can save you up to 5,000 gallons of water each year.
Now, if you have an older dishwasher that was manufactured prior to 1994, it can waste approximately “10 gallons of water” for each load. The new standards for water conserving dishwashers that are required to only use 5 gallons per load were not put into place until 2013. So, for anyone that has an old dishwasher, you’ll save more water by washing dishes in the sink. Just don’t leave the water running the entire time. Either fill the sink with water and soap or have a separate soapy water bucket—like I have in our small kitchen with a tiny sink—and only use the running water to rinse the dishes clean. If you’re going to use the dishwasher, don’t run a cleaning cycle until it is completely full. Rinse the dishes first before putting them inside so you can hold off until the dishwasher is full before washing.
It will pay off in the long run to check all the faucets in your sinks, showers, and tubs, at home. If you have leaky faucets, make sure you get them fixed so that you can begin to conserve more water. It may only seem like minimal dripping, but every drop adds up over time to an increased water bill (for those who don’t use well water on their property), and knowing that you are doing your part to conserve water.
For those who garden or want to keep shrubbery healthy, make sure you do the watering during the earlier hours in the day, not when it’s extremely hot. This is better for the plants since they won’t burn in the sunlight. Their roots will soak in more of the water and it won’t quickly evaporate and cause you to waste valuable water. You can get a rainwater barrel to store up rainwater and use that to water your plants and gardens without having to use your own water from the hose or sprinkler system.
For other ways to conserve water, check out this article from Women’s Health Magazine: Six Simple Ways to Save Water.
What are you doing to conserve water?