Water Conservation Tips
There is no shortage of water on Earth, but most of the water on the planet is locked up in non-drinkable forms. Over 97.5 percent of our total water resources are located in oceans, while water in lakes, rivers, vegetation and in the atmosphere accounts for less than one-half percent of the total. Therefore, we must wisely use the water that is available to us. 1
According to the US Geological Survey, water use in the US has generally been increasing steadily since 1950. Total water withdrawals for all categories of use in 2010 were estimated to be 355 billion gallons per day. Although total withdrawals in 2010 were 13 percent less than in 2005, the overall trend since 1950 is towards more water use.
Simple steps can be taken to use water more efficiently, which will help to preserve future water supplies, save money, and help protect the environment. Below are some ways we can help conserve and recycle water every day at home.
Indoor Water Tips
The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home. Roughly 70 percent of this use occurs indoors.
The US Environmental Protection Agency's Water Sense website offers the following suggestions:
- Use our garbage disposals sparingly; disposals require a constant stream of running water. Instead, compost vegetable food waste.
- If we shorten the length of showers by two minutes, we can save up to 150 gallons of water per month.
- Think your toilet may be leaking? Put food coloring into the toilet tank. If the coloring finds its way into your toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing this can save up to 1,000 gallons of water each month.
- When it is time to replace a toilet, consider a water efficient tank. Some new tanks use only one gallon per flush.
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and you can save up to 25 gallons of water per month.
- Consider installing an instant-supply water heater that does not need to constantly run to keep water hot. This will also reduce energy costs.
- When you stay in a hotel, request to reuse your towels and linens.
Outdoor Water Tip
- Spread a layer of mulch around plants to retain moisture and save water, time and money.
- Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Taller grass will shade its roots and retain soil moisture better than if it were cut closer to the ground.
- Collect rain water from your downspouts into rain barrels and then use that water supply to water your garden.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles its water.
- Aerate your lawn annually so that water can more easily reach roots.
- Let your lawn go dormant during the summer. Dormant grass needs water less frequently.
- Plant native grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once they are well established, they will not require watering as frequently, and should be able to survive dry periods without watering.
For more information:
- Water: Use It Wisely
- Eartheasy: Solutions for Sustainable Living
- Total Water Use in the United States
- 25 Water conservation tips