Some scientists predict water shortages will be the most important challenge facing the world in the next decade, according to a Reuters report. Due to factors including increasing population and use as well as climate change, water is becoming an increasingly precious resource. Given these concerns, conserving water use in the home is an important step to take.
Water conservation falls into two categories: engineering, technologies such as low flush toilets, and behavioral, such as turning off the water while brushing teeth (see resources 2). A complete water conservation plan should include both engineering and behavioral practices.
- Low flush toilet or a two-liter soda bottle filled with water
- Faucet aerators
- Low-flow shower heads
Check your home for leaky faucets and toilets. Have the leaks repaired or fix them yourself.
Consider replacing older toilets with newer low-flush models. Toilets from 1992 or earlier tend to be much less efficient, using at least three gallons of water per flush, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Newer toilets designed for efficiency, such as those with the WaterSense label use less than 1.28 gallons per flush.
If replacing the toilet is not feasible, try filling a two-liter soda bottle with water and placing it inside the toilet tank. The bottle will displace water in the tank, so it will not fill up as much.
Make sure all your faucets are equipped with aerators. Check your showerhead. If your shower can fill up a one gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the shower head with a low-flow version, according to the Water Use It Wisely website.
Consider installing an instant water heater near your kitchen sink, so less water is wasted waiting for it to get hot.
If you water your lawn, consider installing a drip irrigation system. Water is delivered directly to the grass, so less is wasted due to wind and evaporation.
Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, shaving or during other times when you are not actively using the water. Simply turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save up to eight gallons of water per day, according to the EPA.
Take showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower uses an average of 10 to 25 gallons of water versus nearly 70 gallons to fill a bath, according to the EPA.
Run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine or adjust the water level for smaller loads.
When washing dishes by hand, fill a dishpan with water rather than constantly running the faucet.
If you have to water your lawn or garden, do it in the morning or evening. Less water will be lost to evaporation when you avoid watering during the warmest and sunniest time of the day.
If you wash your car at home, park it on the lawn and recycle car wash water as irrigation for your lawn.
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