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10 Simple Ways to Conserve Water
The average American doesn’t typically think twice about filling a glass with water to drink or turning on the faucet to wash a dish or brush their teeth. But did you know that according to The Water Page, “fresh, clean water is a limited resource”? Not only is it a limited resource, but it is not equally distributed throughout the world. The FreshWaterWatch estimates that about 40% of the world’s population lives in water-stressed areas, and that percentage is expected to grow. The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan whereby residents were exposed to lead-contaminated water is a close-to-home example of just how vital it is to have access to quality water.
Water is a basic necessity and it is important to conserve it, even in areas that do not currently have a clean water shortage. Conserving water can help reduce water waste and can help regions use water more efficiently. Using less water can also reduce energy use and your water bills.
One day that draws attention to the importance of protecting and preserving water and other natural resources is Earth Day. This annual global event takes place on April 22 and brings together people throughout the world to focus on the environment. To recognize Earth Day and the issue of water conservation, we’ve compiled a list of 10 simple ways you can conserve water in your home.
- Repair leaky faucets –While indoor leaks are easy to detect because you can hear the drips, outdoor leaks can sometimes go unnoticed. Check the faucets, showerheads, toilets and pipes inside your home, as well as pipes, faucets and hoses located outside.
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth – Approximately 10 gallons of water are wasted when the faucet is left running while you brush your teeth.
- Buy WaterSense® plumbing fixtures – If you have inefficient fixtures such as toilets, faucets, and showerheads, replace them with more water-efficient ones. Look for products bearing the WaterSense label. WaterSense products meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifications for water efficiency and performance. Learn more about WaterSense on the EPA website.
- Choose water-efficient appliances – The toilet is your home’s largest water waster, accounting for more than a third of your home’s the daily water usage. Replacing an older model toilet with a later model low-consumption toilet can cut your water usage by at least 25%. When replacing an older washing machine or a dishwasher, look for new models that have the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR is a government-backed symbol that ensures a product meets certain energy-efficiency requirements. More efficient washing machines and dishwashers use less water and energy to run and may also require less detergent.
- Only run full loads – For water efficiency, only run your dishwasher or washing machine when they are full. According to the U.S. Department of Energy in this Christian Science Monitor® article, “A typical household can save 3,400 gallons of water a year by running full laundry loads instead of half loads.” Even if your appliance has smaller load options, it will still be consuming the energy of a full load and using almost as much water.
- Water in the morning – In hot weather, water your lawn or outdoor plants in the early morning hours before the temperature starts to climb. This is good for conserving water and your lawn/plant health. Watering in the middle of the day when it is hot leads to quick water evaporation and less of the water will benefit the roots. You’ll need to water more. Read more about how to save water in your landscape by visiting The East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District page.
- Don’t let faucets run – Be mindful of all the times you let faucets run needlessly such as when shaving, cooking, or lathering your hands or hair. Turning off the water during these tasks can result in significant water savings over time.
- Reduce shower time – According to Conserve H20, you can save up to 2.5 gallons of water for every minute you take off your shower time.
- Water your lawn wisely –Limit your lawn watering to two or three times a week – even less if it rains. Watering once every three days helps promote healthier, deeper root growth.
- Fill the bathtub halfway – When taking a bath, fill it halfway or less. You’ll save 12 gallons of water per bath.
Clean water is a precious resource. By incorporating these small changes into your lifestyle, we can help preserve it for the future.