Tip Tuesday: What About Water?

At home, at work and on the road: Americans waste more water per day than any other nation in the world. And we only have 4.5% of earth’s total population. That’s scary.  But it can get better.

Water is a part of our everyday lives. We use it for nearly all of our life functions and it’s also a huge part of our recreation. From drinking 64-100 ounces per day to watering the lawn to washing dishes, see if you go an hour without doing something water related. How are your water habits?

How To Save Water

Chances are, you have bad water habits. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Today I’m going to break down a few of the worst habits and show how changing each of them can make a difference.

Cleaning

Water is a main component in cleaning nearly everything from yourself to your car. Can you be clean and use water more ethically? You certainly can. In fact, you can start conserving water in as little as the next five minutes.

Choose Showers. Baths are awesome, and if I had my way I’d take four or five a week. But baths require far more water than showers.

Use A Dishwasher. This one still blows my mind, but using your dishwasher is far more efficient than hand washing dishes. In fact, filling your dishwasher uses three to four times less water than handwashing.

Turn It Off. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. There is absolutely no reason to keep the faucet running and yet most people do this. And do you know how much water that wastes? Five gallons. Think about that for a second. You probably can’t carry five gallons of milk comfortably.

Combine Tasks. Brush your teeth in the shower. Shave in there, too. And taking a shower with your partner? Not only does it save water but it’s a good time for both of you!

Use Rainwater. Collected rainwater is great for cleaning your car, walkway, driveway. Another fun option is washing your car during a summer rain, just avoid doing this during lightning.

Dining

Just Say No. Sit down restaurants used to put a glass of water in front of every customer. Many do not anymore unless this is requested. If you aren’t a big water drinker or are planning on skipping it for something else, tell your server as soon as you sit down. And if someone in your party asks for water, pipe up and say, “None for me, thanks.”

Eat Less Meat. I won’t get into the whole omnivore vs. carnivore vs. vegetarian vs. vegan thing here. The numbers don’t lie: it takes nearly 10 times as much water to produce a kilogram of beef as it does to produce a kilogram of wheat. Eating more meat-free meals in a week conserves water and exposes you to all kinds of new foods. Currently eat meat at lunch and dinner? Consider starting by swapping out meat in one of those meals per day for a veg-based meal.

Steam Your Veggies. Boiling veggies requires enough water to cover what you’re cooking. Steaming, on the other hand, requires very little water. Steamed veggies are also more crisp and flavorful.

Rain Water. If you grow any veggies for personal consumption, use collected rainwater to water them.

Around The House

A few cheap pieces of tech from your local hardware store can easily save water.

Install Low Flow Faucets. Reduce how much water comes out of every faucet and swap your showerhead out for a more eco-friendly one. Today’s models keep the water pressure up, which used to be the big reason not to do this.

Change Your Toilet Habits. Lots of people cannot get behind (pun totally intended) the whole if it’s brown, flush it down but if it’s yellow, let it mellow thing. Flushing, though, is one of the biggest water wasters out there. If you want to conserve water, try letting the yellow mellow. Can’t deal? There are dual action toilets that use different amounts of water depending on whether you are flushing liquids or solids.

Fix The Leaks. Leaky pipes and faucets can waste a tremendous amount of water. In addition, they can lead to mold and degrade cabinets, walls, flooring and more. Fix the leaks and you’ll feel better and keep your home in better shape.

Playing

Especially in the heat of summer, water play is great. But it is also wasteful. Here are some ways to play more ethically.

Skip Water-based Amusement Parks. Waterparks are wasting tons of water. Make the choice to avoid them altogether.

Explore Natural Swimming Holes. One of my favorite things is to find new places to swim with my dogs. Rivers, reservoirs, quarries — you’d be amazed at the abundance of natural water parks.

You Guessed It: Play In The Rain! Recently my mom ran into a neighbor who said that to this day, nearly 30 years since the last time he saw me, he thinks of me every time it rains. Because as long as there was no lightning, I was outside. Running, splashing in puddles, playing soccer with my friends. Remember the pure joy of youth by getting out the next time you get a warm rain.

Want to be a hero? This article shares how to make a sweet slip ‘n slide you can pull out on rainy days to enjoy. Skip the detergent and hose by making this your go to rainy day form of excitement. Kids will no longer complain about having nothing to do on a rainy day and adults will arrive with delicious things to drink.

Advanced Ways To Save Water

These are only for the boldest among us. If you do these or have a weird way you conserve water, let me know in the comments!

Pee In The Shower. I told you this was for the advanced! But seriously, peeing in the shower saves a flush.

Save Unused Drinking Water. Do you find yourself dumping partially full glasses of water out at the end of the day or night? Instead, pour these into a pitcher and use that water for things like rinsing out a sink, mopping, or watering household plants.

Use Undies As A Loofah. Pop off your undies and soap ’em up. Then use them for washing. Rinse, ring, and hang them up. They’re clean, you’re clean, and you’re using less washing machine water!Learn how to save water when cleaning, dining, fixing, playing and more!

Your Mission

This week, in addition to buying booze in cans and remembering your reusable bag when you head to the grocery store, try implementing a few of these water saving techniques.

4 thoughts

  1. Great advice – and I wish more people here in Cape Town (where we are on severe water restrictions and are currently at less than 15% usable water in our reservoirs) would follow the suggestions! The dishwasher one also really surprised me when I found out!

    1. Hey, Nik! That’s crazy. It’s sad that more people just don’t get it but every little change matters over a long period of time. Educate, motivate, activate! The dishwasher one still boggles my mind.

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