In the midst of a world health crisis, water is playing a crucial role helping us stay clean and healthy. Still today in 2020, 785 million people – 1 in 9 – lack access to safe water and 2.2 billion people – 1 in 3 – lack access to a toilet. The situation will likely worsen as population and the demand for water grow, and as the effects of climate change intensify. (United Nations, 2018)
Here are 10 easy ways to conserve our precious resource in our home:
1. TURN OFF THE TAP while washing your hands, brushing your teeth, shaving and scrubbing yourself under the shower. Did you know that turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth can save up to 200 gallons of water a week for a family of 4?
2. SHORTER SHOWERS: an average shower uses about 5 gallons of water per minute. Installing a low flow shower head and cutting your shower time to 5 minutes can reduce your water usage and CO2 emissions by 70-80% per year. My personal tip is to play your favorite song, when it's over, it's time to get out of the shower. Another tip is to keep a bucket in the shower and use the collected water for the house plants or hand wash delicate clothes.
3. TOILETS: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow!” is an easy way to save water. Also if you don't already have a small toilet tank installed, you can place a bottle in the tank so less water is needed to fill it and therefore less water is being flushed. This tip can save up to 10 gallons of water per day. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that we flush drinkable water down to our toilets while some people in the world don't have access to clean water. My dream is to have a composting toilet one day.
4. APPLIANCES: As said in my previous blog post, only do full loads of laundry and dishes and save up to 20 gallons of water per wash. If you need to hand wash dirty dishes, here is how my grandma used to do it: plug the sink or fill up a small tub, wash the dishes then rinse them with a trickle of water. Depending on the size of your sink / tub, you’ll only use a total of about 2 gallons of water compared to 2 or more gallons per minute if you let water run through the faucet.
5. FOOD: it takes a lot of water to grow, process and transport food, the worst is meat with 2,000 gallons of water needed to produce one pound of beef for instance. With the agriculture industry being responsible for approximately 80% of the water used in the U.S. reducing our meat consumption, eating more vegetables, avoiding processed food and fighting food waste are the most impactful choices you can make in terms of water conservation.
6. VEGETABLES: wash your fruits and vegetables in a bowl instead of running water then reuse the water for your plants or garden.
7. COOKING WATER: Water and feed with nutrients at the same time your plants with the water used to rinse, boil, steam vegetables, eggs, pasta. This leftover water can also be used for your homemade stock.
8. CLOTHING: Another area where we usually don't realize the amount of water required is the manufacturing of clothes. It takes 720 gallons of water to produce one single cotton tee-shirt. So before buying new clothes, consider buying second hand.
9. GARBAGE DISPOSAL uses important amount of water and energy to run so adopting a zero waste lifestyle helps reducing the trash produced. Consider starting a compost with your organic scraps.
10. LEAKS: they represent 12% of water use in a typical American home so check your pipes and toilets.
What about you? How do you make sure not to waste water and reduce your consumption?