This year California enters its fourth year of drought. The water crisis is no longer some distant specter of climate change that people can deny. Record high temperatures and low rainfalls have created the perfect storm for the state as farmer’s fields dry up and residential wells have dried up.
“This is going to affect everyone in the state,” said Paul J. Wenger, the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation to The New York Times. “I can’t think of any part of the state where people aren’t going to be suffering from diminished water supplies.”
The water crisis isn’t isolated to California. It’s happening all over the globe.
Faced with such devastating changes to our environment, it’s natural to wonder what you can do to save water and do your part in helping alleviate the water crisis.
Here’s ten things you can do or change to conserve water:
- Look for the WaterSense Label: WaterSense is a partnership program with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Its purpose is to help you find high-efficiency products that offer the same level of performance you’re used to, but use less water to complete the task. WaterSense labeled products are backed by independent third party certification and meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance. You can also use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.
- Turn off the tap: Did you know that over half of the water use in the average household takes place in the bathroom? When you’re shaving or brushing your teeth, turn the tap off when you aren’t using the water. This can add up to some big savings.
- Shower Smart: According to the EPA, showering accounts for 17% of indoor water use. We can all appreciate a long, hot shower, but it’s important to use water wisely as you do. A low-flow showerhead can save both water and the energy needed to heat the extra water. Just replacing the showerhead with a more eco-friendly option can amount to big savings!
- Dishwashers and Laundry: Dishwashers and clothes washers have definitely made life easier for us, but make sure you have a water-efficient model to ensure you’re using the least amount of water needed to complete the task. Also make sure you only run these appliance when the machine is fully-loaded. Washing just a few things isn’t very efficient, after all!
- The Great Outdoors: Landscaping can be tricky when there’s not a lot of water to go around. Choose native plants that are best adapted to your environment and its natural rainfall levels. If you do need to water your lawn, it’s best to water between 6 and 10 AM. More cities are imposing watering restrictions on when and how often people can water their lawns, so be sure to check if this is the case in your area.
- Fix a Leak: Each year in mid-March is Fix a Leak Week. A slowly dripping faucet may seem harmless enough, but it’s estimated that the average leak can waste about 10,000 gallons of water each year it goes unfixed. Check your plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems to make sure they are sound.
- Buy Less: Everything we produce takes some water to create, so make your purchases with mindfulness. When the option is available, choose recyclable options which allow the materials to be reused and therefore save water when the materials don’t have to be entirely replaced.
- Eat Less Animal Products: The production of meat, dairy, and eggs is especially demanding on our water supply. A typical hamburger alone takes about 630 gallons of water to produce! Learn more about how much water it costs to produce many every-day items including meat, wine, soybeans, and oil in the infographic entitled The Hidden Water We Use by National Geographic.
- Compost: Food waste accounts for a large portion of the rubbish that makes it to landfills. Rather than throwing scraps and leftovers down the garbage disposal and using lots of water to flush the food away, you can make a more eco-friendly choice by choosing to compost organic material. Learn more about composting and how to get started here.
- Assess Yourself: Watch the Home Water Challenge video or use the Home Water Audit Calculator to see where you can save water.
These positive changes can help conserve water in your home and daily routine which in turn can save you some money and really help your community. You can get more tips by visiting Water: Use It Wisely.
Still want to do more to help preserve our precious water resources and help the animals that depend on it? Our Gift That Gives More dedicated to keeping toxic runoff out of the Puget Sound of Western Washington and helps preserve a delicate ecosystem for the wild orca that call it home.Whizzco