With summer’s heat upon us, it is a great time to think about ways to conserve water. While about 70 percent of our planet is covered with water, only about two percent of earth’s water is usable and there is water scarcity in many parts of the world. Here are some ways you can save water today:
- Install low-flow showerheads.
Water-conserving showerheads use about 2.0 gallons per minute, which can reduce shower water usage by between 25 to 60 percent. Using low-flow showerheads, the average family can save approximately 2,900 gallons of water per year. While conserving water, this can also save money on water heating costs.
- Consider buying efficient water-using appliances.
Energy-efficient washing machines can save 10 gallons of water per load compared to traditional machines. This translates to an average annual water savings of more than 3,000 gallons per household. Dishwashers manufactured prior to 1994 use an extra 10 gallons of water per cycle compared to newer models, so that’s another 1,000 gallons of water or more that can be saved every year.
- Check around your house for leaky fixtures, both indoor and outdoor faucets.
A single drip of water may not seem like much, but it really adds up over time. A home with a leaky faucet that drips just once per second wastes 27,000 gallons of water per year.
- Be aware of how much water your food sources require to produce.
This can be a hidden part of our cumulative water footprint. For example, one pound of beef requires approximately 1,847 gallons of water to produce, whereas chicken uses only 518 gallons per pound. Stone fruits such as plums and peaches require more water to grow than do citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits. Choosing a grapefruit over a plum is a difference of 200 gallons of water per pound. Just swapping high water consumption foods for those with lower numbers saves water.
- When dining at restaurants, only order water if you plan to drink it.
Many restaurants in states struggling with drought have opted not to serve water to patrons automatically. When dining at restaurants that do not have this policy, tell the waiter you don’t want water unless you plan to drink it. This will save water both by reducing the amount of water tossed out, and by reducing the number of glasses that then require water during the washing process.