Here are the 15 EASY ways I PERSONALLY conserve water, since I usually do, anyway, and I now live in the drought-stricken state of California. PLEASE do this.
IMPORTANT: Most of these personal acts DO NOT MATTER if you eat a lot of meat, corn or soy, or foods that contain them (which are MOST if you eat processed foods/fast food). Really. Agriculture uses more than 95% of California’s water, and most of THAT goes to raising animals, corn and soy for animal and human food.
Check out this article (link, below). Here are some key facts:
“California families are concerned and ready to take action. Responsible citizens will be taking shorter showers, shutting off the water while brushing their teeth, and only washing clothes with a full load. But what most people don’t know is the much greater impact of their diet….
“Most people shower every day an average of about seven minutes of hot water with the showerhead flowing out about two gallons of water a minute. The Water Education Foundation calculates that every pound of California beef requires about 2,464 gallons of water to produce. You would save more water just by replacing a pound of beef with plant foods than you would by not showering for six months!…
“It may be more abstract than just turning off the tap, but the foods we choose impact our water supply. Eating more veggies, fruits and grains, and reducing or eliminating our consumption of meat, milk, and eggs will help your family decrease their environmental footprint, get healthy, help animals, and preserve enough fresh water for generations of Californians to come.”
HOWEVER: Personal conversation DOES matter and we should all have better habits and tend to our water use better.
1. Use a dishwasher or washing machine only when it is full, unless your appliance has settings for lower water/smaller loads. Then, make sure you set it correctly.
2. Use a cup (not filled) of water to dip your toothbrush in for wetting, rinsing while you brush your teeth. Use the water to rise your mouth. If you still need to rinse your mouth after that, just use one swallow’s worth of water for the final rinse. DO NOT RUN WATER WHILE BRUSHING TEETH, please. Teach your children this.
3. If you have pets and plants, use the leftover water from watering plants to fill pet water bowls and vice-versa. None of these beings will mind one bit.
4. If your water heater is slow to heat your shower or tub to desired temperature, put a dishpan or large bucket under the flow to catch the colder water. Use this water to water plants or give to pets, or, if you wash dishes by hand, to soak dishes.
5. Be vigilant about leaks and drips and do not allow any to continue. Get help or DIY, but end these water-wasters right away.
6. If you must wash your car (like, it’s covered in mud or blood), patronize a car wash that advertises that it uses recycled water. Otherwise, keep your windshield and headlights clean and drive a dirty car. It is not a big deal, compared to RUNNING OUT OF CLEAN WATER. Really.
7. Check recipes and use common sense: only use the amount of water for cooking that the item(s) require, and no more.
8. Get a compost bucket with a lid and stop using your garbage disposal except when the drain is clogged. Then, run minimally, just to clear the clog.
9. Water conserving shower-taking (especially in public places, to be a role model): get wet quickly, all over; lather up body and hair with water turned OFF or trickling, if needed; rinse off, all at once; repeat if needed (like, for hair).
10. Use shower water only for getting clean/rinsed. Do not stand under the shower to “warm up.” Do not stand by and be silent when others do this. Water is not for your or their personal luxury or comfort. WATER IS ALL OF OURS.
11. Bath-takers: STOP TAKING BATHS. Unless you can’t stand up or are too young to shower, stop it. It’s self-indulgent and wasteful. Baths use five times the water that showers do (or more, if you keep “topping it up” to keep it hot). WE CANNOT BATHE in a full tub (70 GALLONS of water!!) in a drought. Really. Stop it. if you must immerse yourself occasionally, join a gym or go where they have an already-filled hot tub. Enjoy.
12. If you use ice cubes in a drink or pitcher and have some leftover but unwanted, let them melt and then water plants or animals with the melted ice.
13. Store water leftover from steaming vegetables or cooking eggs to begin your next soup. Can be frozen and thawed for this purpose.
14. Thaw food in the refrigerator; do not use running water to thaw food. Plan ahead.
15. Get a garbage pail with a lid and put it next to each toilet. Put all but the most soiled toilet paper in the pail. Do not flush the toilet until it is necessary (without toilet paper and only pee: NOT NECESSARY!). If you have children or many guests, put up a sign to this effect. Or, be cuter: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” “Please put wet toilet paper in the pail. If it’s ‘heavy,’ put it in the toilet.”
Want more ideas, especially for home-owners and landlords/ladies with land or pools and businesses? See this list, below.