As 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?
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.