10 No-Brainer Ways to Use Water Wisely. Plus, a Bonus…

water globeAs I pointed out previously, we’re drinking the same water Cleopatra drank. That’s another way of saying, the world just doesn’t make more water. What’s here is what’s always been here. And it’s what’s always going to be here, even though there are more and more people using the limited water we have. Which is why we have to figure out how to make every drop of H2O count.  In honor of Blog Action Day’s focus on water, here are 10 No Brainer Ways to Use Water Wisely.

1) Give up bottled water. How many reasons do you need? Toxic plastic is used to contain bottled water. Bottled water generates mountains of trash. Making bottled water and moving it around the globe wastes enormous amounts of energy. Bottled water may not be as safe to drink as tap water.  Here’s the real kicker: bottling water wastes water. Two gallons of water are wasted for every gallon bottled. Stupid, no?

2) Give up the idea that you have to drink water all the time. Where did that notion come from, that somehow, your outfit isn’t complete without a bottle of water by your side? I’ve gotten along just fine drinking from drinking fountains and — believe it or not — going for a couple of hours at a time without drinking water. Try it. You won’t die.

3) Filter your water at home. If you’re concerned about water quality, put a filter on your tap and keep water in your refrigerator or in a closed carafe on your kitchen counter or desk top. You can also buy reusable water bottles that come with their own filter. Cheap, good, and trash-free.

4) Take shorter showers. Get in. Soap up. Get out. I bet you can do it in five minutes; ten, max.

5) Use low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. They’ll increase the pressure coming out of the tap so you won’t notice you’re actually using a lot less water. Get ’em at your local hardware store. Simple, yes?

save water6) Get a new toilet.

I recently replaced mine with one that’s Water Sense certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (you can see the water sense logo on my toilet tank if you look closely!); if I’d had time to wait a week for a special delivery, I could have gotten a dual-flush toilet that’s even more water-efficient. I loved this water-saving toilet I saw in Australia.

7) Replace your lawn. Grass is weird; in fact, it’s not even natural – really, where in Nature does a monoculture (i.e., just one plant) grow completely weed-free? Nowhere. Give it up in favor of other groundcovers that use a lot less water and require far less maintenance.

8) Stop the leaks. Inside or outside, faucets drip if they’re not tightened properly.  If tightening a faucet doesn’t stop the drip, you’ll probably have to remove the knob and replace an old washer. If I can do it, you can.

9) Wash full loads. This goes for the dishwasher as well as the clothes washer. If you’re going to use all that water, make it wash as much as the machine can hold. And by the way, washing dishes by hand uses a lot more water than doing them in the dishwasher. You don’t need to rinse in advance – just wipe off the grime with a damp sponge or cloth.

10) Turn the water off. Duhhh…Why people still let faucets run when they’re brushing their teeth is beyond me. You don’t need to let the shower run for ten minutes before you get in, either. And you don’t need to let the kitchen tap run while you’re just clearing the table or off talking on the phone. If you like the sound of running water, get a small fountain that will circulate the same water over and over. Otherwise, just let it be.

Bonus: Buy less, and buy used. Manufacturing uses an enormous amount of water. H2O is used to grow crops, process materials, mine minerals, and clean finished products. Every time you buy something, you’re buying the water used to make that thing. Every time you throw something away, you’re throwing our the water used to make it, as well. Buy less, and buy used. You’ll save money, and save water, too.

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14 Responses to 10 No-Brainer Ways to Use Water Wisely. Plus, a Bonus…

  1. Arlene October 19, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    Thanks much for the 10 great tips. This is an excellent blog and thanks for all the information.

  2. Jeff Gibbard October 21, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    I’ve been trying to convince my wife to switch away from bottled water in favor of a filtration system. It’s been a slow moving conversation.
    Luckily I won on the: “turn the water off while brushing your teeth” conversation.
    Thanks for the tips.

  3. Cindy October 22, 2010 at 6:36 am #

    I have a ton of houseplants because they are great at purifying the air. But you don’t need to use water straight from the tap to water your plants. Instead, try using water leftover from cooking vegetables. Or put a bucket in your shower to collect the water as it warms up. If you take a bath and don’t use bath soap, you can use the leftover bath water to water plants.

  4. greensentiments October 26, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Green Sentiments is a supplier of reusable, eco-friendly jute bags.
    Choosing a reusable jute bag is one way to take responsibility for minimizing waste and for using resources in a sustainable way thereby avoiding large landfills which affect the environment and wildlife. Plastic bags are becoming a global problem. There’re adding to landfill and affecting the world’s wildlife. That’s why more and more customers are choosing eco-friendly alternatives. http://www.greensentiments.com

  5. Lill Hawkins October 29, 2010 at 7:02 am #

    If you’re going to re-use bathwater, it’s best to use organic cleansers and very mild ones at that. This won’t hurt plants and it’s better for bathers also.
    We have an artesian well and live where there’s plenty of water, but we’re still careful with it.
    Shine On,

  6. Ginnie November 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Great ideas! Here’s another: Install a water barrel to catch the rainwater that lands on your roof, then use the water on your garden.

  7. Saran Kirschbaum November 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    If you have some garbage cans without holes, they capture water too. To prevent mosquitos buy what I call doughnuts and drop 1/2 in the rain water it works. Back up a second can to the first and it will also fill up.
    It takes about 1 gallon of water to get hot in our house. We collect that water and use it for plants or to rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

  8. Mike Aquasana December 21, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    thanks a lot for your thoughts here Diane
    As for water filters, the top selling systems you can find on the Internet today are so-called “reverse osmosis water filtering systems” or simply “distillation”.
    These are in fact not the best option since even though they can do a pretty fine job of removing contaminants and toxins; they as well take away the useful minerals that are very important for our physical condition.
    here is the water consumption online calculator:

  9. synthetic grass January 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    The bottomline is, we need to know how to conserve water. We need to preserve mother nature for our future.

  10. plumbing March 18, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Most washing machine floods are caused by leaks in the hose. Remove the panel on your washing machine,
    search for any cracks, leaks or weak spots on your hoses, and replace the hose if needed.

  11. Perfectly Green January 17, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    A very important and current article.
    Touching further on synthetic grass saving water, not only that, it saves time, money, and maintenance. You’ll never be affected by a hosepipe ban, and your lawn would remain the envy of your neighbours, as well as it helping the environment.
    Great stuff

  12. Diane MacEachern January 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Yeah…but isn’t it made of plastic? And doesn’t it emit nasty fumes when it gets really hot?

  13. Ritu April 16, 2016 at 7:48 am #

    Every thing said and done why is this water scarcity in the first place.
    Is it bcos of using limited resources for overproduction.
    Do our daily habits need to consume so much of fresh water.
    Do we all need to have our private gardens that we eventually water with fresh water. Either there are reasonable and effective grey water harvesting systems which then can be used for watering. We can really do without lawns and grow more trees and plants. Mostly fruit bearing and cut flowers that we can decorate or offer for worship. Let’s face it we tend to care and put efforts for that which benefits.
    It’s good for the ecosystem at large. It’s good to use hose with tap.also a 3step process for cleaning dishes.wash dishes in a large bowl of water or sink. Second use diluted soap to clean and put in water tub. 3rd wash the dishes save the water. Water from 1st tub can be used in biogas. 2nd grey water harvesting. 3rd can be used to water the plants. Now the challenge is to make it into an auto system.

    • Diane April 17, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions. They’re right on!

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