Water is one of our most precious resources. As climate change leads to droughts and water shortages around the world, it’s becoming increasingly important for all of us to find ways to conserve water in our daily lives. By making some simple changes around your home, you can significantly reduce your water usage and do your part to protect this vital resource.
Audit Your Water Usage
The first step is to get a clear sense of how much water you currently use. Look closely at your water bill and identify when your usage tends to spike. Are there certain times of day, like morning showers or evening dishes, that use a lot of water?
You can also conduct a water audit by:
- Reading your water meter at the beginning and end of a period (such as a week) to calculate total use
- Identifying all water fixtures and appliances in your home
- Checking for leaks by dripping food coloring into toilet tanks and observing if color appears in the bowl without flushing
Knowing where and when you use the most water will help target your conservation efforts.
Upgrade Old or Inefficient Appliances
If your home contains older appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, and toilets, upgrading to new, high-efficiency models can significantly reduce water use. New washing machines use 35-50% less water per load. Look for models with a WaterSense label that marks water-efficient products.
High-efficiency toilets use 20% less water per flush. Replacing an old model with a new low-flow toilet can save thousands of gallons per year.
Change Water Use Habits
Simple changes in your daily water habits can lead to major conservation:
Take shorter showers. Install a timer in your shower to keep it under 5 minutes.
Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving. This easy habit could save over 200 gallons per month.
Only run full loads in dishwasher and washing machine. Adjust settings for smaller loads.
Soak pots and pans before washing to reduce sink use.
Defrost food in the fridge rather than under running water.
Collect cold water as it warms up to use for plants/pets.
Adjusting your use habits takes some time but will soon become second nature.
Modify Outdoor Watering
Outdoor water use often represents 50% or more of total home water consumption. To reduce your outdoor water use:
Water early in the morning or at night to minimize evaporation.
Install drip irrigation for trees, shrubs and garden beds. This targets the roots and uses much less water.
Let grass grow longer – taller blades retain more moisture.
Plant native, drought-resistant plants. They require very little additional water once established.
Check sprinkler heads and fix leaks, misalignments or clogs.
Sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them down.
Focus outdoor watering on the roots of plants when absolutely necessary rather than wetting the leaves or surrounding soil.
Collect Greywater and Rainwater
Greywater is gently used water from sinks, showers and washing machines. Collecting greywater in buckets allows you to reuse it for outdoor watering.
Rainwater harvesting uses a catchment system to collect and store rainwater from roofs. This provides a free source of water for outdoor use.
Both rainwater and greywater require proper treatment to remove potential contaminants before reuse. But reusing these onsite water sources significantly reduces the amount of freshwater needed for irrigation.
Be Aware of Your Water Footprint
The water used to produce the food, goods, and energy you consume every day is called your water footprint. Reducing consumption of meat and processed foods decreases this hidden water demand.
Choosing locally sourced food, efficient appliances, renewable energy, and eco-friendly products reduces your water footprint even further.
Making small changes around your home can lead to big water savings. And developing water awareness in your daily habits creates lasting impact. Conserving water starts with you.