Water – what YOU can do

First, check out these two films about water.

And then, incorporate some or all of these easy suggestions into your life:

  • Don’t buy bottled water.  In the US, our tap water is the same or higher quality as bottled water.  Save the cash you’d spend and donate it to an organization that helps people without potable water.
  • Take ‘military style’ showers – turn the water on and jump in, get yourself wet, turn the water OFF while you soap up your hair and body, then turn it on again and rinse quickly.  You’ll cut down your shower times and drastically reduce your water usage.
  • Don’t run the water while you’re doing dishes – fill the sink about halfway with soapy water and you’ll be able to get your dishes clean and use less water AND soap.
  • Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when they’re FULL – you can save up to 1000 gallons a month by washing one full load of laundry every three days instead of one small load each day.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly – they use a lot of water to operate properly, so compost anything you can and only run the disposal machine when you REALLY need to.
  • Put a bottle of tap water in the fridge – the reason most of us like bottled water is actually because it’s cold, not because it tastes any better than tap water.  So, keep a cold one handy!  I keep a washed-out cranberry juice bottle full of tap water in our fridge, and refill it every time I have some.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks, which can drain from 20 to 100 gallons of water per day, depending on the size of the leak (another method is to watch your water meter carefully – if it’s running unusually high, you can be fairly sure you’ve got a leak somewhere)
  • Wash fruits and veggies in a bowl or pan of water instead of running the faucet
  • If you boil water for pasta, use a bowl to collect the water under the strainer, and when it’s cooled off water your houseplants.
  • If you use a teakettle for tea, after it’s boiled and you’ve poured it into your teapot or mug, pour the still-boiling excess water over your dishrag or sponge – this will sanitize it!
  • Water your plants early in the morning, as the cooler temperatures and lower light level means your plant will absorb more of the water and you won’t have to use as much.
  • Collect water from your roof and from rain to water your garden.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of running water while you scrape food off.
  • Insulate your hot water pipes for faster hot water, so you don’t have to run the tap or shower for so long to get the temperature up.
  • Use COLD water for your laundry – I promise, it gets just as clean!! It takes much less energy to get the same result.
  • Turn the water off while you shave – follow Michael’s lead and fill the sink with about an inch of warm water to rinse your razor in, which will save up to 200 gallons per month.
  • To conserve water outside the home, use plants that grow naturally in your area to avoid having to water at all.

I’d like to add a caveat to this: please, for your sake AND mine, use biodegradable products. Everything that goes into your drain goes back into the water you drink – including the dish soap, shampoo, and cleaning chemicals you use. So, watch what you dump down there! We use Dr. Bronner’s “Sal Suds” for our dishes, floors, counters, etc…it’s entirely biodegradable and works like a charm on stains, stuck-on food, and cruddy floors. Seventh Generation products are good for laundry, and Dr. Bronners is great for in the shower.  And make your own shampoo! Check your labels, and while you’re at it, don’t buy any cosmetics or household cleaners that are tested on animals, please 🙂

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