Water seems to be the most abundant human resource. Occasional showers can even feel like an inconvenience. And when you do have water problems at home, you just call the people in charge, and the issue will be done and over with the next day. It’s so easy to take it for granted.
But statistics can be grimmer than reality. Of all the available water on earth, 97 percent is saltwater and only 3 percent is freshwater. The majority of that 3 percent is trapped in glaciers and ice caps (68.7 percent), the other 30.1 percent is groundwater, and only 0.3 percent is usable surface water—most of which are found in lakes (87 percent), swamps (11 percent), and rivers (2 percent).
Much bleaker are the projections about the future water situation of the planet. Speaking to the UN Security Council in 2017, UN secretary general António Guterres warned that humanity can run out of water by 2050.
This is a call for collective effort toward responsible water use and the need to change people’s attitude toward sustainability. And where does one realistically make a difference than at home?
Here are simple yet powerful ways that you can contribute to the global efforts for water conservation.
Use the Bucket When Showering
While waiting for your shower water to heat up, you can save all that initial water flow in a bucket and use it somewhere else, like watering your garden plants or flushing the toilet the next time you use it. In some parts of the world, people bathe by putting water in a pail and using a dipper to clean themselves. Kinda different from what you’re used to but efficient, nonetheless.
Use an Energy-Efficient Toilet System
Macerating upflush toilets use less water than traditional toilet systems do, thanks to a revolutionary technology that allows you to save with every flush. So if you’re already considering a bathroom renovation, look into these water-saving toilet options. They are also cheaper than traditional toilets and are easier to install.
Turn Off the Tap While Washing Your Hands, Brushing Teeth
Instead of letting the water flow freely while you’re brushing your teeth, put a sufficient amount of water in a glass and use it to rinse. When you’re washing your hands, turn off the tap while you’re soaping. This way, the water does not go unused.
Fix Leaks Immediately
A dripping tap can amount to 15 liters of wasted water every day. So check your faucets, pipes, hoses, and couplings. Once you notice leaks, get them fixed immediately. Include leak inspection in your regular maintenance checkups to mitigate leak problems that can potentially cost hundreds of dollars in your water bill.
Consider Using a High-Efficiency Washing Machine
About 20 percent of household water usage indoors goes to laundry. Generally, front-loading washing machines utilize less water than top-loading machines do. But if you really want a machine that can do the job while utilizing up to 40 percent less water regardless of the type, look for machines that are Energy Star certified.
Take Shorter Showers
Just a four-minute shower can use approximately 76 to 151 liters of water. So if you want to keep your bathwater usage to the minimum, keep your showers short. While you’re soaping up, turn off the shower. You can also choose to consciously time your showers using a timer or control the water flow using a regulator.
Don’t Use Your Toilet as Your Wastebasket
A lot of household owners dispose their garbage by flushing it down the toilet. But unless you’re using a macerating system, that’s not a very good idea. Not to mention, flushing stuff down will just cost more water than is necessary. So see to it to keep a bin handy nearby, and make an effort to get rid of the habit.
Use the Dishwasher instead of Handwashing
It turns out washing dishes by hand can actually cost you more water than using the dishwasher does. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, dishwashers have come a long way since their invention, now using only half as much water than manual dishwashing does. Again, look for dishwashers that are Energy Star certified to be sure.
A lot of your household activities involve using water: rinsing laundry, cleaning vegetables, rinsing dishes, etc. Water output from these activities can be reused. So consider installing a water butt to your drainpipe, and reuse the water for your lawn or other cleaning tasks.
Water by Hand
If your garden isn’t that big, consider watering your plants manually. This will allow you to regulate the amount of water used instead of depending on an automatic irrigation system that typically uses up more water by 33 percent.
Cultivate these positive habits within the household, and conversely, create a culture of environmentally mindful individuals. As author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said, “If we begin with ourselves and do the things that we need to do to become the best person we can be, we have a much better chance of changing the world for the better.”
Be that change today.
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