World Water Day takes place on March 22nd – and to help raise awareness of the day, The Nature Conservancy has launched a guide to saving water.
In the United States alone, 80 to 100 gallons of water is used per person every day, this is the highest personal water consumption rate in the world, yet it is also estimated that over 1 billion people live without access to clean drinking water, and that every eight seconds, a young child dies from lack of water or a waterborne disease.
“World Water Day was established by the United Nations to help create awareness about water issues such as lack of clean drinking water, droughts and hydropower,” said Brian Richter, co-director of The Nature Conservancy’s global freshwater program. “Today, studies about damaged and threatened freshwater systems are appearing with increasing frequency but there are small and tangible steps that each of us can take to help reduce our impacts.”
With a few small, simple changes, you can help reduce your water use, leaving more water in the rivers, lakes and other freshwater sources. These changes will also result in a lower water bill so should benefit your home finances as well:
1. Consider cutting a little water usage from your morning routine. Keeping a timer in your bathroom will remind you to wrap up and get out of the shower faster.
2. If a home renovation is in the cards, splurge on low-flow and water-efficient appliances they’ll save you money in the long-run. A front-loading washing machine, for example, uses 40-60% less water than top-loading machines.
3. A new toilet can save you water too, but if you can’t install a low-flow toilet, reduce the amount of water used by placing a jar or other closed container full of water into your toilet tank.
4. Install low-flow shower heads and sink spigots, which can both be purchased at your local hardware store, or contact your water utility company to find out if they distribute them for free.
5. When running the dishwasher, make sure it’s full to get the maximum use per drop. There’s no need to pre-rinse, since most of today’s models can handle any kind of grime.
6. Check for–and hastily repair– leaky pipes and faucets. The tiniest leak has far greater impact than you’d think.
7. Don’t use your sinks and drains as trash cans, and dispose of oil and other toxic materials properly. Just one gallon of oil reaching the sewer can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water.
8. Reduce water use in your own yard: Try collecting rainwater by placing containers at the end of each gutter. It’s perfect for watering your garden; water your lawn or garden in the morning or the evening when the water will evaporate less rapidly, and limit pesticide use, as they’ll eventually be carried into our freshwater supply by runoff.
9. Take the easy way out and hit the car wash. A car wash typically uses about 32 gallons of water per vehicle, but the EPA estimates that washing it yourself can use up to 500 gallons of water.
10. Take advantage of recreation opportunities on local lakes and rivers, and learn about the wildlife they support. It will help you understand what we could lose if we don’t manage our water wisely.