Planet Earth is called the blue planet because of the abundance of water present here. Even though the surface is covered primarily with water, more than 95% contains salt. Freshwater is essential for life as we know it, and in many regions of the world it is scarce. Wherever humans have established settlements, they compete with other organisms for available water. Society would collapse without the valuable services provided by ecosystems. Freshwater is essential for many of these ecosystem services, and we need to do our part to ensure adequate water is available for these systems to function properly. This guide provides simple steps you can take to improve water use efficiency around your home, leaving more for others and nature. In addition to going green and helping the environment, you will reduce your water bill and save money. It is a win-win situation!
Check for leaky pipes and hoses in your house. Start by turning off all water using devices in your home. Next, locate your water meter and write down the number. Wait for an hour to see if the number changes. If it does not change, you do not have any leaks. If it changes, you have a leak. Check all hoses on sinks, toilets and other devices to ensure connections are tight. Replace or repair any leaks. Fixing leaks can save thousands of gallons of water annually.
Turn off water while doing chores. When you are washing dishes, cleaning and peeling vegetables, brushing your teeth and cleaning. While it may seem like a trivial amount of water for each activity, the amount of water wasted on these activities can be tens of gallons.
Use low-flow appliances and fixtures. If you are looking to replace an appliance or fixture, consider purchasing a water saving model. Replacing shower heads and toilets with low-flow varieties can save thousands of gallons per year. You can check to see if your toilet needs to be replaced or repaired by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If it seeps to the bowl, you have a leak that needs to be fixed. If you are not looking to replace appliances, use water saving settings whenever possible.
Water your lawn properly. Wait until it shows signs of stress before watering, and water heavily when you do to encourage root development. Be sure not to over water. Lawns only need 1-2 inches of water per week, depending on the season. Additionally, you can raise your lawn mower deck during the driest part of the summer to reduce water consumption by your lawn. If you are looking to plant a lawn, consider a drought tolerant or species native to your area. The same is true for decorative plants. If you are really ambitious, consider implementing a rainwater harvesting system. Click here to read more.
Avoid using a hose to clean your sidewalks and driveway. Use a broom to sweep up debris, as a hose will use tens to hundreds of gallons. While you may enjoy the look of freshly washed concrete, think of it as money flowing out of your hose rather than water.