The population in the United States has doubled over the past 50 years. This may not seem like a big deal as you look around your neighborhood, but it is a big deal when it comes to water conservation. There are at least 40 states that are anticipating a water shortage by 2024. There is no time like the present for all of us to start doing what we can to help conserve our water. Let's make sure we have enough fresh water when we need it in the future!
There are several simple ways that we as individuals can conserve water, and Ranger Mac will go over some examples below:
Water Conservation for your Home
Here are five simple ways you can start conserving water right from your own home:
Check your faucets and pipes for leaks. A small little drip coming from your faucet can waste up to 20 gallons of water per day. A larger leak can waste hundreds of gallons!
Do not use your toilet as a wastebasket. Every time you flush, you are using five to seven gallons of water. Don’t get in the habit of flushing just to get rid of facial tissue or small bits of trash.
Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks. If you read your water meter before and after a two-hour period of no water use, it can tell you if there is a leak somewhere. If the level has changed after that two hours, you can be certain you have a leak somewhere in or around your home.
Install water-saving showerheads and faucets. Simply getting an inexpensive, water-saving shower head can save you gallons on water usage. You can even install it yourself to reduce the cost. Make sure the showerheads and faucets you install are 'low-flow.' This means that it will use less than 2.5 gallons of water per minute. You can also take shorter showers and turn the faucet water off whenever you aren’t actively using it.
Use your dishwasher and washing machine only for full loads. Any automatic dishwasher or clothes washer should be loaded to full capacity for you to get the most water conservation. With clothes washers, you should avoid the permanent press cycle, as it uses an additional 5 gallons for the extra rinse. If your washing machine is old, you should consider replacing it with a new Energy Star rated washer. These use 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per single load, so you will get your money back in the long-run!
Water Conservation in the Yard and Garden
Here are some ways to conserve water outside your home in the yard and garden:
Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Mulch will slow down the process of evaporation, while also slowing down the growth of weeds. Adding 2-4 inches of compost or bark mulch will increase the soil's ability to retain moisture and also help prevent water runoff.
Water your lawn only when it needs it. To see if your lawn needs to be watered, simply step onto your grass. If it springs back up when you move, it does not need to be watered. If the grass stays flat, the lawn needs to be watered. If you let your grass grow to more than 3 inches, it will also help retain water in the soil. If the weather is cooler, it’s best to let the morning dew and rainfall bring the lawn the water it needs.
Water during early parts of the day. Early morning watering is best for your lawn and other yard plants. This helps reduce water evaporation, because the temperature is cooler, so more stays where it’s needed.
Use a broom (not the hose) to clean your sidewalk or driveway. Just sweep your sidewalk or driveway instead of running your water hose over them. This saves so much water from being used unnecessarily just to clean leaves and grass off the concrete. Sure it may take a bit more time and muscle, but you will save thousands of gallons of water in the long run.
Check for leaky faucets. Just like the faucets inside your home, make sure you check all the water faucets on the outside as well. These can drip water that you are totally unaware of for months. You can use hose washers and hose connections to help eliminate the leaks.
Thousands of gallons of water is being wasted every day by not performing these simple steps for water conservation. Simply being aware of the water you use and when you use it can be a big help in water conservation. Remember to check for leaks at faucets and turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Not only does this help save on water waste, but it will also help with your water bill. Just because water is plentiful in your area today, does not mean that it will still be there tomorrow. Start working on water conservation now to ensure that there is enough water for everyone to use later!