With water shortages around the world, water conversation has been a top concern and educators have been instilling the need to conserve fresh water. For most consumers, it is not until you read about the effective ways of conserving fresh water that you begin to realize how much water you have been wasting.
The good news about water conservation is that the majority of measures cost very little but time and effort. And while your efforts as a citizen to conserve water may seem insignificant or a "drop in bucket", when global awareness is raised, those figurative "drops" add up to a more thoughtful use of fresh water, and conservation of drinking water for the future.
Habits that Waste Water
Have you ever gone to the bathroom and used toilet tissue to blow your nose, and flushed the toilet afterward? Perhaps you use flushable biodegradable facial wipes or baby wipes? Did you know that every time you flush to toilet to discard a tissue, you are wasting 10 gallons of fresh water?
Ensure that you have a waste basket in every bathroom, and instruct your family to use the basket rather than the toilet to dispose of tissues, and reduce the amount of fresh water you waste by as much as 100 gallons per week or more!
Install a Float in Your Toilet Tank
Most conventional, regular flush toilets require about half the water they contain for flushing waste. However consumer preference is to have a deep toilet bowl with a powerful flushing action. In Europe, the use of low-flow toilets has been common for over twenty years.
If a new toilet is not in the budget there are ways to modify your existing toilet without impeding its normal function or performance. Fill two plastic water bottles with sand and/or gravel and affix the lid. Place the bottles on the left and right side of the tank as a float booster. The bottles will displace approximately 3 gallons of water, reducing the amount required to fill your tank. Install a float booster in every toilet in the home and you will realize a tremendous reduction in the use of water in your home.
Help Your Hot Water Tank
Gallons of water are wasted every day as individuals run the shower or bathtub until the hot water emerges from the faucet. Did you know that insulating your hot water tank and pipes can increase the efficiency of your hot water heater, and allow hot water to flow faster to your bathroom? It will reduce the length of time you need to run water before it becomes warm enough for bathing and conserve water. It will also help you conserve on electricity bills for water heating.
The "Full Load" Rule
Do you have a favorite shirt that you want washed so that you can wear it the next day? We are all guilty of choosing convenience and preference over practicality, but in previous generations there was no such thing as convenient laundry. It was washed and hung to dry once per week.
Avoid setting your washing machine cycle unless you have a full load of clothing to watch. Additionally the same rule applies to the dishwasher. Hand wash large items like pots and pans that take up room, and leave the dishwasher for plates, cups and glasses and cutlery. The average family should only need to turn on a dishwasher every other day, and a washing machine at maximum about three times per week. If you are using both appliances daily, scale back on the partial loads to conserve water responsibly.
Kitchen Disposal Units
They seem convenient until you consider that the majority of food clippings cannot (and should not) be sent down your sink as they can create a build-up and significant plumbing problems. But while you are using your kitchen disposal, you are required to let the water run to assist with the mulching of your vegetable clippings and other organic materials.
How long does your faucet run every week when you are using a disposal? When you consider how much water is wasted and the net impact of refuse on your kitchen plumbing, it may be time to reconsider using a sink disposal unit, and opting instead for an outdoor compost. The compost will also provide valuable top soil that you can use for your lawn or garden to increase root heath, and reduce the need for constant watering during warm months for a healthy lawn.
There is 326 million cubic miles of water on the planet, but 97% of that water is salt water and not suitable for drinking. Of the 3% fresh water available on the planet, more than 70% of it is in the ice caps and not accessible. As water shortages become an increasing reality for many geographic regions, the responsibility to be wiser with our water consumption is necessary to preserve potable drinking water for the generations to come.