Next to air, water is the most essential element for the survival of living organisms. Unfortunately, it’s becoming a scarce resource and many communities are experiencing drought conditions.
Taking steps to conserve water at home can help reduce your water bills and save energy. Installing water-efficient shower heads and faucets, storing drinking water in the fridge rather than running it until it’s cold, and putting a brick in your toilet tank can all make a difference!
1. Install Water-Efficient Fixtures
While water might seem plentiful enough to meet the needs of people across the country, droughts and shortages are a reality in many places. With that in mind, it is more important than ever to take steps to conserve water, especially at home.
Fortunately, there are many ways to do this. The most effective way to save water at home is by installing modern, high-efficiency fixtures and appliances. These include dishwashers, washing machines, toilets and showerheads that are WaterSense-labeled or ENERGY STAR rated.
In addition, be sure to turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and only run the dishwasher or washing machine with full loads. When it comes to outdoor water use, be careful not to over-water gardens or lawns and be aware of any leaking water outside your house. Fix any leaks as soon as you find them. In fact, 14% of all household water usage is lost to leaks, according to the EPA.
2. Take Shorter Showers
Showering uses a lot of water. But a few simple changes can help reduce the amount of water used and energy consumed while bathing.
Taking shorter showers saves water. It also saves the energy needed to heat that water. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to power the pumps that deliver our water and heat it up for us to use. This energy is mostly sourced from fossil fuels that degrade the environment.
If every household in the country shaved one minute off their shower time, it would save over 165 billion gallons of water (plus the energy required to prepare the water for usage) annually.
That’s not to mention the financial benefits of cutting down on shower time – it cuts down on your utility bills and limits your use of non-renewable resources. Other ways to conserve water include only washing full loads of laundry and using a low-flush toilet. Water and energy conservation are important for everyone, no matter where they live or what their lifestyles look like.
3. Wash Dishes in Bulk
Water conservation is an important part of reducing your environmental impact. It can help reduce your water bill, save energy and even protect against future droughts. While installing water-saving appliances and systems like rain barrels can be expensive, most methods of reducing your water usage involve little or no investment.
One of the easiest ways to conserve water is to avoid washing dishes by hand. The kitchen sink is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and is often overflowing with dirty, contaminated water. Instead, wash dishes in bulk in a large dish rack or on the counter and rinse each item with a pan of clean water.
Alternatively, you can use baking soda and vinegar to scrub stubborn dishes, pans and pots. It is a natural way to get your dishes as clean and as sanitary as possible while avoiding the chemicals and waste that come with commercial dish soap. Keeping a bottle of tap water in the fridge can also cut down on unnecessary water waste since it eliminates the temptation to keep the faucet running to cool the water (which can lead to wasted 10 litres a day). This simple tip is a great way to save both water and money!
4. Install a Rain Barrel
In addition to saving on water and energy, rain barrels help reduce stormwater runoff. As runoff travels across lawns and roads, it collects contaminants like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and animal feces, which pollutes natural bodies of water and contributes to storm drain clogs. Using a rain barrel reduces the amount of stormwater that is carried away and collected by local sewer systems, further reducing pollution and stress on these infrastructures.
To install a rain barrel, first make sure that the spot you plan on placing it can support the weight of a full container. Then, if necessary, dig out or add soil to the area to level it out. Remember that a fully-filled rain barrel can weigh hundreds of pounds, so be careful where you place it! Once placed, use a level to ensure that the barrel is as even as possible.