Though most of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, less than one percent of it is suitable for use by humans. This fact underscores the need to preserve what is a valuable and limited resource. The average American household uses 260 gallons of this precious commodity on a daily basis and much of it goes to waste, largely through waiting for water to heat up for showers and baths. Note that the water itself is not the only thing going to waste; a lot of energy is also used in the delivery of water to communities.
Benefits of Water Conservation:
- Water conservation lowers the risk of groundwater becoming contaminated. The more water a household uses, the greater the strain placed on sewer systems.
- Less water means lower monthly utility bills.
- Water conservation ensures that future generations will have access to water.
Methods of Water Conservation
Some of the most effective water conservation measures a household can implement include:
- Using Fixtures Designed for Water Conservation
There are water-efficient versions of common plumbing fixtures like shower heads and toilets. Toilets alone account for about 40 percent of American residential water. Replacing older fixtures with these water-conserving devices can help a household to cut water wastage significantly. The right fixtures can cut a household’s water usage by as much as 3,000 gallons. Other worthwhile water conservation methods include displacing water in a toilet tank if you have an older toilet. You fill a plastic jug with water and place it in the tank to lower the amount of water used per flush.
- Water-Efficient Landscaping
Of the 26 billion gallons of water that are used in America on a daily basis, seven billion is used for outdoor purposes like irrigation. The summertime use of water for landscaping can be greater than that used by a household over the rest of the year. This is more often the case in places with hot, dry climates. It may be possible to choose the right plants and landscape design to make the most of the water you use. Plants that can tolerate droughts can not only help with water conservation, they may be able to help with other issues like soil erosion as well. You will want to preserve the plants on your property that are already established as these will require less water than new ones.
- Inspect Your Plumbing
A single worn washer can result in as much as 20 gallons of water being lost each day. Larger leaks can cause hundreds of gallons to be lost. Leaking toilets are a common factor in water waste; check for toilet leaks by adding a few drops of food coloring to the water in the toilet tank. If the water in the bowl starts to take on the color, you have a leak. You can discover hidden leaks in walls and underground lines by turning off all your faucets and then checking the water meter. If it moves at all, there is a leak somewhere on your property.
Along with the water conservation steps listed above, you should make the conscious decision to use less water for common household tasks. For example, faucets should not be left running when brushing your teeth. In addition, you should wait until you have full loads of laundry before washing your clothes rather than washing partial loads. All of these water conservation steps can help you to reduce your water footprint and your utility bill at the same time.