Fresh water is a precious resource. All living things need it to survive, yet it accounts for only 1% of all of the water on earth. And in addition to supporting life, it’s also used in industry, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Given the scarcity of fresh water and the increasing effects of climate change on its availability, it’s to our benefit to learn how to better conserve water and reduce our household water usage. At present, the average American uses 80-100 gallons of fresh water per day. If you think about that in terms of 1 gallon jugs, that’s a lot of water in a day!
So how do we go about better conserving a resource that we’ve taken for granted for so long?
Ways to Conserve Household Water
Install WaterSense appliances and fixtures - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program labels products that meet federal standards for water efficiency. By choosing these products, you’ll be saving water as well as reducing your water bill.
Turn off the tap - It’s very easy when we brush our teeth or wash our hands, dishes, food, car, or other items to simply let the water run the entire time until we’re finished. This adds up to a lot of wasted water.
Make a habit of turning off the water when you don’t need it. In addition, run the water at 50% rather than 100%. You’ll still get the same effect without using as much.
Don’t run it unless it’s full - Accumulate your used dishes and dirty clothes until you have enough for a full load to wash them. Then run your dishwasher or do a load of laundry.
Sweep rather than spray - Some of us use water to clean off our driveways or sidewalks when there’s a much easier, less wasteful option. Instead, get a commercial push broom and sweep away the dirt and debris.
Water at dawn or dusk - Water evaporation is highest during the warmest times of the day. To avoid this water waste in your lawn or garden, water them at dawn and dusk when temperatures are at their lowest.
Cover when not in use - If you have a pool or hot tub, the water in it will evaporate if left uncovered, which necessitates filling it with even more water. By covering your pool or hot tub when you’re not in it, you will greatly reduce the water that goes into the air.
To get started on lowering your household water usage, use this EPA calculator, which will help you set a baseline for your water consumption and monitor your progress toward reducing it.
With a little bit of mindfulness and dedication, you can reap the financial reward of a lower water bill and the satisfaction of being better to our environment!