Many countries around the world are running out of drinking water faster than nature can replenish it. According to the United Nations World Water Assessment and the University of Wisconsin, the average supply of water per person will drop by a third over the next 20 years because of population growth, pollution and expected climate change. While our perception may be that we have an inexhaustible supply of water, the Fresh Water Society tells us that it takes 16 gallons to grow one apple and 3,000 gallons to raise one pound of beef. So it’s evident that significant water needs go far beyond the drinking fountain or the shower.
Consider how the following tips can help your home use less water:
- Check all pipes, hoses and faucets in the house for leaks. According to the American Water Works Association, a dripping tap can waste 5,000 gallons of water in a year.
- Check toilets for leaks. Put a little food coloring in the tank. If it appears in the bowl without flushing, it’s leaking and can waste up to 4,000 gallons of water in a year.
- Take shorter showers as they use two to three “buckets” of water every minute; limit baths as they use two-and-a-half times as much water on average as a shower.
- Turn on your dishwasher or washing machine only when it’s full. Surprisingly, a dishwasher uses only about 9 to 12 gallons of water while hand-washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons.
- Don’t run the tap when brushing your teeth; use a cup of water to rinse.
- Use a trigger hose when washing the car since it turns off automatically.
- Use a broom to clean your driveway, not your hose.
- Install water-saving shower heads and low flow faucets.
- Consider buying a rain barrel to capture water for shrubs and lawns.
- Cover the swimming pool on hot days and at night as pools can lose up to 50 gallons of water in a single day through evaporation.
- Don’t use your toilet as a disposal unit by flushing a used Kleenex or other garbage. A single flush can use as much as seven-to-ten gallons of water depending on your reservoir.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the fridge. Running the tap to cool water can waste up to three gallons per minute.
- Be water wise and look for personal ways to conserve water. If we each save a little, we’ll all save a lot.
- Remember that most municipalities levy a sewage charge as well as a water charge so conserve where possible.