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With more and more areas struggling with droughts, conserving water is more important than ever. Even if you’re not living in a drought-stricken region, cutting back on water use also means a lower utility bill and helps conserve a precious resource.
Whether you’re ready to cut back on your showers or replace your lawn with water-wise plants, there are lots of big and small ways that you can conserve water around the home. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything on this list. Just pick a few things to start with, and do more as you can.
Many of us only really think about water shortages during heatwaves – when temperatures can top 30°. But our water system is overstretched regardless of extreme heat. And climate change is expected to heap even more pressure on our depleting supplies.
Here are four simple ways to tackle the water wastage problem.
Kids watch our every move. They rarely do as we say; they do what we do. It’s always helpful to check ourselves first and see if we are modeling responsible behavior.
Do we shirk our duties at home? Are the dishes left in the sink? Are our telephone messages unreturned, are we often late for meetings? If so, it might be time to take a good look in the mirror and decide how we can act more responsibly.
It is always helpful and comforting to kids to see their parents trying to refine their own behavior. Kids then learn to be responsible for their own actions. They have a living model for how to improve their behavior when they hear:
“I need to be more responsible about returning calls. I have to figure out a system that works for me. Does anyone have any ideas?”
Kids will bask in the glow of your praise, and you are more likely to get a repeat of responsible behavior.
You might also want to avoid bringing up all the other times they acted irresponsibly. Like adults, kids can only take so much criticism.
Raising responsible kids is something that we need to do. Role modeling, looking for the good, praising responsible behavior and using solution-oriented language can help us do just that.
Turn off the taps
Don’t let your water consumption run out of control. Save 6 liters of water a minute by turning off your tap while you brush your teeth.
Fix leaky taps too – and stop what could be 60 liters of water going straight down the drain every week.
Water comes out of the average faucet at 2.5 gallons per minute. Don’t let all that water go down the drain while you brush! Turn off the faucet after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it’s time to rinse.
Do you need the water to run while you’re scrubbing your hands? Save a few gallons of water and turn the faucet off after you wet your hands until you need to rinse.
Shower with less
Every minute you spend in a power shower uses up to 17 liters of water. Set a timer on your phone to keep your showers short, sweet and water-saving.
Switching to an efficient shower head will allow you to lather up in less water, which means you’ll save water and cut your bills.
Older shower heads can use as much as 5 gallons of water per minute. Speed things up in the shower for some serious water savings.
Install water-efficient devices
Rebates offered by your local water agency can significantly offset your initial expenses for efficient appliances.
Every county and city agency offer different amounts, so check with your local agency. To give you an idea, here are rebates offered by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works (LADPW) for various devices:
- High-efficiency sprinkler nozzle
- Washing machine
- Smart irrigation controller
The government can take actions too
Around the world, governments can also help to save fresh water and prevent water pollution by:
- measuring water use and setting targets to reduce it
- obliging large companies to measure and manage the amount of resources they use
- encouraging lower water diets – including reduced meat consumption
- supporting industry to make water-intensive products last longer
- providing consumers with the tools to understand the water impacts of the things they buy
- making laws to increase water recycling
- preventing people and companies from polluting waterways by making laws against using toxic chemicals which could pollute our soils.
March 22 is World Water Day! Read and share the following tips, and do your part to help reduce our overall water consumption!