We need water for survival. But every day, in the developed world, we use more water than can be replenished. The water that is available costs more to clean, pump and transport. Those rates are directly charged to the consumer and will continue to increase.
Here are some cost-saving and water-reducing ideas to reduce water consumption in your household or at work.
Replace disposable water bottles with reusable bottles
How easy is it to buy a bottle of water or grab a cold bottle from the refrigerator? Think back to your last plastic water source. Did you drink the entire bottle? Did you recycle the container? The ridiculous cost of plastic water bottles will not only save you money long term, but save the environment and your water footprint, one gulp at a time.
Reusable bottles are extremely stylish and can match any personality or use. They also have temperature regulation which can keep ice water nearly frozen all day. Some have built-in filtration so that water fountains or public water can be used instantly without worry. Finally, they can go anywhere with you.
Keep a pitcher of filtered water
At home, an easy way to keep cold water on tap, is to fill a water pitcher and store in the refrigerator. The water stays constantly cool whenever you need it. Or, if you prefer room temperature water, keep a pitcher out on the counter to easily pour your favourite beverage.
Use a basin to soak or wash fruits or vegetables
During meal preparation, water is constantly needed. From filling up pots for boiling, to washing the ingredients, the water tap can easily run without realizing it. One easy water saver is to buy pre-washed, pre-cut ingredients to add into any recipe.
As produce becomes more accessible, then all types can be purchased locally. But they can still be washed off and cleaned before consumption. Any used water can be poured in house plants afterwards to further use the water.
Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when it is full
The small appliances today run best when they have a full load inside. The powerful water sprays use water to clean and spray the entire cycle. With water being continuously used, it becomes less efficient to have few items to clean.
Hand-wash dishware or clothing whenever possible
An alternative to the appliances will always be hand-washing. You can directly control how much water to use and how often you drain the basin/sink. Some people prefer to wash by hand. Some dishware or flatware can only be hand-washed, much like delicate clothing.
Pay attention to the faucet
Do you wait for hot water? Do you wait for cool water? Does it run when you brush your teeth? Just examining your bathroom habits can determine how much water could be saved just by turning off the faucet.
If you place a bucket (in the shower or bath) or a cup in the sink while you have the water running in between temperature changes. That captured water can be used for something else in the house since it is completely clean.
Many new technology advancements have been hitting the market. One such invention captures grey water from hand washing and uses it to flush the toilet. All appliances have been improved to conserve water. Remember new technology will cost more up front, but saves you hundreds each year in use.
Another obvious water saver is to collect free and mostly clean rainwater. Households and buildings can do that by utilizing a green roof with grass, foliage or trees. The shallow root system naturally uses the water for photosynthesis and then adds Oxygen to the atmosphere in the process.
Rain barrels can be constructed to fit onto building gutters to have roof water pour inside. The barrels have a spout or an opening to gather water used for outdoor plant hydration. Still others use the rain water and pipe it inside to their homes. As long as they can filter the water before consumption, that is one closer way to being off the grid.
Landscape improvements, xeriscaping
A large expenditure of water in the United States is through landscaping and yard maintenance. Having the greenest yard, full grass, blooming plants becomes the sought-after dream. Those designs take constant water through irrigation or by hand-watering.
If those elements are removed from the year, it can become xeriscaped. Using rocks, low-water needing plants, and native foliage can all reduce the amount of water needed for a lawnscape.
These types of waste management have become more mainstream in recent years. Several gallons of clean freshwater are used for each flush of the toilet. In fact, the water in a toilet is cleaner than the water 1/3 of the world’s population depend on daily.
A waterless toilet uses a composting mechanism to remove waste and slowly breaks it down with enzymes and manual removal once filled. It represents a novel idea that would change indoor plumbing forever.
Photo Credit: Simon Götz on Flickr