PRR (Public Records Review) fully supports any efforts that focus on saving the world’s natural resources. Water is one of those resources, and each of us needs to do our part to help conserve all our natural resources, including water.
The conservation of water is important for every person and business entity. When we take the time and make the effort to conserve water, it not only saves money but also conserves energy and preserves the health and well-being of the environment and those who live within it.
The Importance of Conserving Water
We tend to think water is a natural resource that is always at our disposal, and while we may never experience a dramatic loss of water (unless there is a severe drought), there are several extremely important reasons for conserving water such as:
- Fresh water is in very limited supply with only 2 percent of the world’s water supply falling into that category. Even more shocking: only 1 percent is available for drinking.
- The human body is composed of approximately 70 percent water; the brain 85 percent; and the bones 10-15 percent.
- The efficiency of the body decreases 25 percent if the water supply in the body decreases a mere 2.5 percent.
- The body cannot do without water for very long—about 10 days is the longest.
Water is not just important for the human body but every living thing the exists in our environment. In fact, everything we need to ensure our survival requires an abundance of clean water. Most of the water that comes from our tap must be submitted to a lengthy process of energy and resource consumption to ensure it is safe and clean for meeting our needs.
While conserving water tends to decrease energy and the resources used during purification or transportation, it also decreases the pollution that exists in nearby water sources such as lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. This allows overloaded systems to create backflow to all existing habitats. When you conserve water, you will also notice a difference in your bill and the longevity of your septic tank for those who have one. Many of the following tips will help you reduce or eliminate your dependence on the water grid.
Water Conservation in the Home
Within your home, there many things you can do in order to reduce your consumption of water.
- Locate and repair any leaks.
Even a small drip every minute adds up to nearly 53 gallons of wasted water every year. Tighten all the pipes and confer with your water company to learn how you can check for hidden leaks and pipes that may have leaks.
- Invest in appliances that are water efficient.
Before purchasing a dishwasher or washing machine, compare the water usage and try topurchase the most efficient model possible.
- Turn off the water supply before you go on vacation.
This tip will not only conserve water but will prevent the potential for any pipes bursting or new drips occurring while you are away from home.
- Use ice cubes to water houseplants.
Because ice cubes absorb slowly, their use will prevent any excess water from escaping. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use cubes that dropped on the floor.
- Get into the habit of reusing old water.
Instead of throwing away stagnant water, use it to water houseplants or toss it into the garden. You can store a watering can under the sink for this purpose.
- Put insulation on your hot water pipes.
When you insulate your hot water pipes, you will reduce the amount of water you use while waiting for it to warm up. Inaddition, be sure to capture the water you use while warming up and reuse it.
- Winterize water pipes.
You can winterize both indoor and outdoor pipes in order to prevent freezing and prevent the pipes from bursting.
Bathroom and Personal Hygiene:
- Use a slow-flow showerhead.
While these newer, more efficient shower heads do not feel any differently, they can increase water conservation by as much as 75 percent compared to a regular showerhead.
- Decrease the amount of time you are in the shower.
Long showers and baths are less water-efficient than 3-5-minute showers and use a minimum of four times more water.
- Consider taking a military shower.
This method is also called “soap and save” and shuts the water off during the time it takes you to lather up. You can purchase a showerhead that has a “pause” button or on/off knob. You can either purchase and install this type of showerhead or simply turn the shower off. This will reduce your water consumption by approximately two-thirds when you combine it with the low=flow faucet.
- Take fewer showers.
On those days you don’t really need a shower, engage in a quick cleanup in the sink.
- Don’t wash your hair every day.
It isn’t always necessary to wash your hair every day, especially if you are the type of person who doesn’t use many hair care products. The more often you wash your hair, the more you strip natural oils from your scalp, and thus the more it produces. By breaking this cycle, you can reduce the amount of water you use to shower.
- Don’t run the water when you shave.
You can save water by filling a bowl to shave instead of running the water. You can then use this water with all the tiny hairs to water an outdoor plant or add it to the compost.
- Don’t shower alone.
You may want to consider taking a shower with your partner.
- Be sure to plug the tub.
If you decide to take a bath, immediately plug it even if you use the cold water from the faucet and then adjust the water as needed to warm the water in the tub.
- Color the water in the toilet tank.
This method will tell you if there is a leak in the toilet. Put food coloring in the tank, and if you notice the water in the bowl changed colors without being flushed, you know there is a leak.
- Invest in a low-flow or dual flush toilet flap.
Older toilet tanks use 3-7 gallons of water every time you flush. You can install a new flapper and save up to five gallons per flush or over $100 per year with a dual flush flap.
- Place a brick in the toilet tank.
If you can’t afford a new flapper for your toilet, placing one or two bricks in the bank will fill any excess space in the tank and guarantee less water is necessary to fill the tank. You can also put rocks in old water bottles to weigh it down.
You can find many ways to conserve water in the kitchen. Since you cook in the kitchen, you probably use a good amount of water for that purpose, but it’s easy to reduce what you use even for that purpose by looking at the below tips:
- Don’t throw away water you use for warm-up.
While waiting for the hot water to arrive, put a bucket or bowl underneath the faucet to capture the water instead of allowing it to just go down the drain. You can then use this warm-up water to rinse dishes, wash the vegetables or fruit, water plants or the garden.
- Don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full.
You waste more than just water if you run the dishwasher before it is full. You use unnecessary power as well as your own energy.
- Avoid using running water to pre-rinse.
Whether you are pre-rinsing dishes for the dishwasher or washing your hands, you can save water by filling the sink or a bowl with about an inch or water. If you use a bowl, any remaining water can go in the garden or the compost.
- Consider whether you need to rinse.
Depending on the type of dishwasher you have or detergent you use, it may not be necessary to rinse the dishes first. Both newer dishwashers and enzyme-based detergents may have the power necessary to clean the dishes without rinsing them first. First check your manual or with the manufacturer, then scrape excess food into the compost pail or trash and allow the dishwasher to do the rest.
- Avoid using multiple cups during the day.
You will have fewer dishes if you designate one cup or glass per day for your beverages. If you drink hot and cold drinks, you may need to designate one cup and one glass to use throughout the day.
- Reuse dishes when possible to save water and work.
There are many times when dishes do not need a full wash to reuse them. Things such as a plate with just some crumbs on it or a measuring cup you use to measure water for cooking are perfect examples or dishes you can reuse. Develop the habit of reusing dishes as often as is sanitary before washing to conserve water.
- Soak rather than scrubbing.
It is wasteful to scrub dishes under running water. The best and most cost-efficient way to clean soiled dishes is to soak them right after use. This ensures easy cleanup with less waste.
- Avoid washing dishes more than once a day.
If you are washing dishes by hand, save them for washing once a day and save water. Another possibility is to rinse them throughout the day using the warm-up water you saved thus making your evening job easier. All the rinse water you use can go in the garden or the compost.
- Invest in an instant hot water tap.
An instant hot-water dispenser uses less energy than an ordinary hot water heater, partly because it takes less energy to heat small amounts of water. You also avoid the waste associated with waiting for the water to warm up.
- Place covers over your pans.
Since hot water evaporates quicker than cold water, you need to cover all your pans. Covering the pans also allows the water to boil faster, which saves energy when making pasta, noodles, or potatoes.
- Turn the water off while scrubbing your hands.
Only run the water when you need to rinse; the savings can amount to at least a quart of water less. You can prove this to yourself by plugging the drain and evaluating the amount of greywater that is lost.
- Be sure to turn the faucet off completely.
Failing to turn the faucet off completely can easily waste several gallons of water before you realize the water is still dripping. Don’t be in a rush to turn off the water but take the time to make sure you tighten the faucet to ensure it is not continuing to drip.
- Always have a bowl in the sink.
While this sounds a bit on the petty side, it is quite helpful. If the faucet isn’t turned completely off, the bowl will catch it and allow you to save it for other purposes such as watering plants.
- Do not wash fruits and vegetables under running water.
Instead of using running water to wash fruits and vegetables, use a bowl. Washing them under running water uses up to four times more water, which is wasted when it goes down the drain. You can use the water from the bowl to water your garden when you are finished.
- Do not use water to thaw frozen food.
Insteadof thawing frozen food in water, thaw it in the refrigerator. This method helps conserve water and decreases the potential for contamination.
- Refrigerate drinking water.
When you have drinking water in the refrigerator, you won’t need to waste water while you wait for it to cool down. In addition, you will use less ice to help your water stay cool.
- Repurpose boiling water.
You can use the same water you used to boil potatoes, pasta, or vegetables to make soups and stews. Not only can you conserve water, but you add additional nutrients at the same time.
- Use boiling water to eliminate ants.
Instead of dumping boiling water down the drain, you can use it to eliminate ants without harmful pesticides. Take the boiling water and dump it on ant hills and possibly eliminate the problem..
- Eliminate the garbage disposal.
While a garbage disposal may be nice to have, it uses energy and wastes water. The water must be running when you use the garbage disposal, and you don’t have the option of catching it in a bowl or bucket. Instead of wasting water by using a garbage disposal, scrape unused food in the trash and use a metal strainer in the sink to prevent food waste from going down the drain.
- Invest in a front-loading washer.
You don’t need to go right out and buy a new washer, but when you are ready to replace the one you have, keep in mind that a front loader uses almost half the amount of water a top loader does. The reason for this is the clothes move through the water in a front loader instead of just sloshing around in it and leading to additional agitation.
- Be cognizant of the washer’s settings.
Always make sure you set the water level to match the size of the load. You also want to make sure to wash only full loads as much as possible in order to conserve energy.
- Reduce the number of times you wash clothes.
Instead of wearing clothes only one time before laundering them, wear them several time. This will add additional lifespan to your clothing and decrease the number of loads you need to wash. You should also reduce the number of times you launder sheets and towels as well.
- You can launder some items by hand.
Another way to save water and energy is to launder some items by hand instead of in the washer. Lightweight fabrics do not present a problem and are easy to handwash.
- Try to avoid permanent press.
This may be difficult today with most clothing being permanent press, but if possible, avoid these fabrics. Most wash cycles have an additional rinse cycle for permanent press.
- Reroute the source of water from your washing machine.
The greywater that is the result of the washing machine’s wash and rinse cycles can be rerouted into someplace where it can be reused. This might include a holding tank, pond, or garden. Greywater cycling means you reuse water that is basically clean.
Facts to Consider
It’s only in our modern society that people use clean water for emptying their bowels. In order to save on water, consider some of the following tips:
- If it’s yellow just leave it alone.
Since the majority of toilets flush clean drinking water, you can save water by flushing less often. This is an even better idea when you don’t use traditional toilet tissue. In other words, leave the water unless it’s brown.
- Use greywater to flush the toilet.
This method involves filling a bucket with discarded water from warming the faucet or shower and using it to fill the tank of the toilet when it needs flushed.
- Switch to a composting toilet.
A composting toilet uses little or no water. Instead, it composts the feces into safe, organic material.
- Use the trash instead of the toilet.
Many people are tempted to throw things in the toilet instead of the trash. Instead of flushing that tissue, squished bug, or other small garbage down the toilet, put it into the trash and save the water it would take to flush it down.
- Turn the water off in any bathroom you don’t use.
This ensures no leaks will develop without you noticing.
- Consider using a cup for brushing your teeth.
There is no need to run the water to brush your teeth. Instead, put some water into a small cup, put a little bit on the brush to begin, and then use it to swish for rinsing. Afterward, swish the brush in the cup to clean and reuse what is left on a houseplant or put it in the toilet tank.
- Avoid brushing your teeth in the shower.
Instead of wasting water by brushing your teeth in the shower, follow the trick listed above. You can save water because you are not spending that extra few minutes in the shower.
- Your face washing process.
You need to consider how you wash your face if you currently do it in the shower. If it takes you more than just a quick rinse, you will save water by doing it in the sink instead of wasting several gallons of water a minute in the shower.
- Don’t leave the faucet running.
Never leave the faucet running to brush your teeth, shave, wash your face or hands, or performing any chore that requires the use of water.
- Avoid turning the tap all the way on.
There is no need to turn the water on full blast. Turn it on only enough to accomplish what you need to do, usually just slightly more than a trickle.
Water Conservation Outdoors
We use water indoors and outdoors. It’s just as important to learn to conserve water on the outside of your home as inside. The following tips show what you can do to avoid wasting water outside.
- Be aware of the location of the emergency water shutoff valve.
Being aware of the location of the shutoff valve will ensure you can shut the water off when there’s an emergency and avoid losing water and causing damage.
- Get into the habit of collecting rainwater.
It’s easy to collect rainwater. All that is necessary is to install gutters on the roof and collect the rainfall in 55-gallon barrels. You can then use the rain you collect in these upcycled barrels to use in your garden. How much can you collect? An inch of rain falling on a roof of 1000 square feet yields 623 gallons of water.
- Divert rainwater to another location.
If you are unable to collect all the rain that has fallen, you can divert it to another location. By installing longer gutter downspouts, you can divert the water in several ways:
- into a pond
- by way of an irrigation channel directly into your garden
- to the base of a tree
The creation of swales, channels, and slopes can assist you in diverting rainwater to those areas that have the greatest need.
- Do not use your hose to clean paths or driveways.
This method is one that many people use, and while it is much less time-consuming and easier that using a broom, it wastes a great deal of water.
- Put a cover on your pool when it isn’t in use.
While most people cover their pools when they close them up for the season, they don’t always think to cover it at other times. If you keep your pool or spa covered when they are not being used, you will see less evaporation of the water. Since the evaporation rate will lessen, you will find you do can check the water levels less often.
- The use of misters is wasteful and short-lived.
It may seem like a good idea to have a spray bottle of water while you are out in the heat, but the truth is the water doesn’t last long—evaporates almost as soon as you spray it. A better option is having a cool drink or placing a wet cloth around your neck.
- Install a timer on your irrigation unit.
There is no need to keep the water running in your irrigation system when it rains. Install a timer that has a rain sensor. If you don’t have a sensor, monitor the weather forecast and shut off the water supply when there are predictions of rainfall.
- Monitor the timer on your irrigation system regularly.
Always make sure your timer is in good working order and is watering your land in accordance to local recommendations.
- A drip irrigation system is more efficient.
A drip system delivers just the right amount of water to trees, plants, flowers, and shrubs. This type of system delivers the necessary water right to the ground and doesn’t face waste from winds or runoff.
- Monitor sprinklers and irrigation lines.
Check the sprinklers and irrigation lines on a regular basis to make sure they are working properly and not spraying any walkways or other paved areas.
- Never try to water on rainy days.
Doing any watering whether by hand or using sprinklers isless efficient when there are high winds.
- Watering deeply and slowly is the most efficient method.
When you water plants, trees, and other living things, doing it deeply and slowly allows the water to seep deeper into the ground. This encourages deep roots and reduces the amount of water that evaporates.
- Only water when it is necessary.
Plants can die just as much for overwatering as from underwatering. Even if overwatering doesn’t cause the death of the plant, it is still a waste of water.
- Never water plants in the heat.
If you attempt to water plant life during the hottest part of the day, you run the risk of increasing evaporation. The best time to water during the summer is early in the morning or late evening when it is cooler.
- Install a nozzle on your hose.
Using a nozzle on your hose will allow a small amount of water to drip out, which prevents the hose from bursting with pressure. It also helps prevent water from being wasted while it is not being used presently.
- Don’t forget to turn off the hose.
Don’t take a chance on forgetting to turn the hose off. Set a timer and be sure to have one that requires shutoff.
- Test the moisture in the soil.
Instead of just watering, take a long bamboo skewer and insert it into the soil, leaving the top inch or two exposed. When you remove it, you will be able to ascertain whether you need to water based on how much moisture is in the skewer.
- Consider using clay-pot irrigation.
There is no extensive equipment involved here. Obtain a clay pot and bury it in the soil, allowing only the top to remain exposed. Fill it with water and place a cover over it. The water will then seep out of the clay and provide moisture for the soil, as necessary.
- Use an outdoor sink for collecting water.
If you have an outdoor sink, open the drain,and place a bucket in its place to catch any runoff and waste water. You can then use this water for moisturizing the garden.
- The waste water you capture is perfect for outside.
The runoff water you collect from washing your hands or from warming up the water is perfect for the compost or placement under a tree or plant.
Grass and Plants:
- Grass doesn’t favor water conservation.
Grass uses a great deal of water most of which is never used. If the annual rainfall in your area doesn’t provide enough rainfall to support the grass, eliminate as much as possible or cultivate water-efficient ground covers.
- No need to continually water the grass.
Most grass becomes dormant in the summer, and as such only needs watered every 1-3 weeks. Of course, this is contingent on the rainfall in the area.
- Reduce how often you mow and do not cut it as low to the ground.
When grass is taller, less water will evaporate. You can save energy when you mow less often.
- Create landscape that adheres to water conservation efforts.
When you use local plants that adjust to local rainfall, you reduce the need for extra watering.
Throughout America, people use approximately 150 gallons of water every day. This compares to 30 gallons per days in European and three gallons average in Ethiopia. Fortunately, there are ways to improve these statistics. In fact, approximately 70 percent of all freshwater is used for irrigation, mostly in farming.
- Group plants together.
When you keep plants close togetherthere is a smaller area to water. The water will not be wasted, and the plants will provide shade for the soil and reduce or eliminate evaporation.
- Keep plants together based on their watering needs.
For the most efficient conservation efforts, plants with the highest watering needs should be close together. Those requiring less water should be planted separately.
- Make use of the area under gutter spouts.
This area should be reserved for those plants requiring the most water.
- Engage in liberal compost use.
The use of compost will help the soil retain moisture and reduce the occurrence of evaporation
- Planting ground covers can keep moisture in the soil.
The use of ground covers can help maintain the moisture in the soil. Some products can even add nutrients to the soil or attract beneficial insects.
- The rainy season is the best time to plant.
There is a greater need for water as plants begin the growth cycle. Planting during a dry season increases the need for irrigation and reduces water conservation efforts.
- Create areas that are free of plants.
Add stone, brick, or concrete walkways as additions to your yard or garden to reduce the amount of water needed.
- Add mulch to plants and trees.
The use of mulch is beneficial for plants and water conservation as it prevents any excess water from evaporating.
- Some plants require aeration.
Some plant-life such as grass may need aeration to ensure the soil absorbs the water. Plants on which people do not walk probably do not require aeration.
Yard and Garden Design
- Create a design around the slopes.
Base your design on the slope of the yard. A yard that is sloped inward may be best served byconverting the concave area into a pond to collect water runoff or rain water.
- Create swales to collect runoff water.
A swale is a mound of soil that captures water runoff in areas that are sloped. A swale is helpful if your slope removes water from your yard. They are also helpful on the lower side of shrubs, trees, or plants.
- Provide shade for ponds.
If you are installing a pond, make sure the area has enough shade to prevent the water from evaporating. If you already have a pond, water plants, trees, or shrubs can help create shade.
- Avoid the use of fountain.
When water sprays into the air, the rate of evaporation increases. On the other hand, waterfalls that are well shaded help with conservation efforts.
Conserving Water with Children and Pets
It can be difficult to conserve water when there are children and pets in the home. However, there are ways this can be effectively accomplished.
- Support education about water conservation.
Find out what the school district, teachers, and principals are doing to teach children about water conservation.
- Be a model for your children.
Children learn best when following the actions of others. Letting them know why you are doing certain things will help them learn. Avoid nagging or they may waste water just to be spiteful.
- Do not run the sprinklers just for fun.
If you run your sprinklers at night, allow the kids to use that time to cool off. Never use the sprinklers for fun, but instead, go to a city park that has a splash pad to collect water or get in a friend’s pool.
- Allow young children to bathe together.
The children can have fun splashing together, and you will save plenty of water.
- Don’t waste the pet water.
When you give your pets fresh water, toss the old water into the houseplants or in the garden.
- Use a basin for washing pets.
Instead of washing pets in the tub or outdoors, use a basin and large tote full of water. Afterward, dispose of the water under a tree. The pet hair will provide nutrients for the soil.
- Reuse the water from the fish tank.
The water from a fish tank is rich in nutrients that are good for your trees, plants, or compost.
Other Tips for Water Conservation
- Provide support for local farmers
You want to know not only where your food comes from but also whether they practice sustainable farming and participating in water conservation efforts.
- Keep a close eye on your water bill.
You should question any increases in consumption. This could be the result of a hidden leak.
- Be careful how you wash your vehicle.
Use a hose with a valve you can shut off. A better option is using one bucket with soap and the other one for rinsing. The best option is using a car wash that captures and reuses water.
- Promote water conservation in your neighborhood.
Inform your neighbors if you notice any problems such as a broken irrigation line or sprinkler that needs adjusted. Talk to them about conservation techniques.
- Have a discussion with your boss about water conservation.
The company can save money by practicing water conservation thus lowering its overall operating budget.
- Order water when you are at a restaurant.
You can save money by ordering water and dump any leftover water or ice into a plant instead of letting it be put down the drain.
- Reuse towels when you are in a hotel.
Hotels usually only wash towels that are on the floor and not the ones hanging. Use your towel for your entire stay.
- Ask questions about water conservation when you travel.
Ask the staff at hotels, restaurants, meeting halls, and any place else you go what they are doing to conserve water and how they plan to increase those efforts.
- Support all local efforts involving water conservation.
Contact the water company and ask what you can do to help conservation efforts and ask local officials to improve their efforts.
- Conduct research on rainwater harvesting.
The right system in your house can help you lessen or eliminate your dependence on the water grid. You do this by harvesting rainwater and using it several times in many ways throughout your home and garden.