It may not seem like water is a waste problem. After all, most of the earth’s surface is water. We turn on a faucet and water comes out. Every time.
If we stop to think about it, though, what goes down the drain goes through the wastewater treatment plant. Eventually, it goes back into a river or lake.
So what’s the problem?
For one thing, if you live in a drought-stricken area, all the water that comes out of your wastewater treatment plant flows downstream to the next town. You’ve wasted water someone in your community could have used.
Otherwise, I won’t go into all the environmental problems with water pollution and other issues in this article. Water conservation on a national or regional level can be a complicated issue. Water conservation at home comes down to one simple fact and a few simple practices.
What comes into your tap is treated water. That is, it has gone through an elaborate and expensive purification process. And you have to pay for it.
When you drink water, cook with it, bathe, or wash dishes and clothes, you’re putting your water to work. When it flows directly from the tap to the drain, you’re wasting it.
Wasted water wastes the time, effort, and chemicals that purified the water. Plus the energy it takes to get the water to your house. Not to mention your hard-earned money.
So here are some basic water conservation tips:
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of letting water run till it gets cold.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator instead of running water.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under running water.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly if at all.
- Fill a sink or tub with rinse water when you hand-wash dishes.
- Turn the water off while you brush your teeth or wash your hands.
- If you need only a trickle of water, don’t turn it on full blast.
- Put some water in the sink to rinse your razor.
- Don’t use the toilet as a trash can.
- If you wash your car at home, don’t let the hose run while you’re scrubbing. But a carwash recycles the wash water. It is the better choice for water conservation.
- Install a rain barrel and use that water instead of tap water wherever possible. (I’m aware that in some Western states, rain barrels are illegal, so you need to know the laws in your state.)
- Reuse greywater.
- Use a broom instead of running water to clean the driveway or deck.
- Use a soaker hose to water your garden where possible.
- In very cold weather, let the water drip in faucets near an outside wall. Drips are usually wasteful, but not compared to the expense of burst pipes!
If you want more explanation for any of these points, check out 16 Ways to Stop Wasting Running Water.
By the way, notice all the times I suggested using a bowl or tub of water. Maybe you can think of even more. You can use that water to water houseplants or plants in your garden. That’s part of what I mean by reusing greywater.
Shop related products:
American Standard 288DA114.020 Low Flow Toilet, Normal Height
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Oxygenics 27223 SkinCare Fixed Low-Flow Shower Head
Waterpik Hand Held Shower Head Eco Flow Low Flow Water Saving Shower
Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System with Built-In Timer
Brita Water Pitcher with 1 Filter, w 1 std, White