Last week I read an inspiring blog post about a couple who lived out of a van for four months. Although they got to travel around the beautiful Canadian wilderness, the most impactful part of their story was how they used and conserved resources.
One of the most important lessons I came away with during my van years was the realization of how much water we waste unnecessarily as a society. I am no preacher – do what you like – but one day, our children’s children might not have the same luxuries we do. The things they want might also be the things they need, and water might be one of them.
This provided me with a much-needed kick in the rear. I don’t know about you, but I can be super wasteful when it comes to water. A lot of times it’s just easier. It’s easier to let the faucet run when you’re doing the dishes. It’s easier to keep the shower flowing when you’re shaving your legs. It’s easier to toss that “old” glass of water down the drain rather than save it for other uses.
The truth: 800 million people in this world don’t have access to clean water. Being able to walk to the sink and have a virtually unlimited supply is a pure blessing—a blessing we one day may lose. So let’s live in a way that honors and gives thanks for this precious resource.
Sometimes you just need to go back to basics. Here are 20 quick ways you can conserve water today.
1. If you use a dishwasher, make sure it’s a water-saving kind, such as front-loading and low-water-use dishwasher. Find one here.
2. Wash only full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.
3. Quit watering your lawn. Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your geographic area.
4. Compost instead of using a garbage disposal.
5. Keep your showers short and sweet. Even shortening by a minute or two can save more than 150 gallons.
6. Upgrade old toilets to more efficient models.
7. Collect rainwater from your roof to water the garden.
8. Check your pipes and faucets for leaks—just do it already!
9. Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl, using the leftover water for plants.
10. Opt for using a washcloth instead of getting a full shower when you are not too dirty or just need a freshening up.
11. Bring a cup with you to the shower. Fill it with water and turn off the shower while shaving.
12. When hand-washing dishes, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink half full with wash water and the other with rinse water.
13. Sweep instead of spraying down your sidewalk, driveway, etc. Bonus: You’ll get a great workout.
14. Install a water-saving shower head and low-flow faucet aerators.
15. Refuse to pour any ‘clean’ water down the sink. If you don’t want to drink it, use it to water house plants, clean, rinse veggies, etc. (ice included!)
16. When shaving, fill the sink with a few inches of water instead of turning the faucet on every time you need to rinse your razor.
17. Lay down mulch (2-4 inches) around trees and plants—it’ll slow evaporation.
18. Avoid washing your car. If you must, fill a bucket with water to rinse large debris.
19. Reuse water left from cooked or steamed veggies for a nutritious soup or drink.
20. Encourage your employer, local school system and government to act and promote water conservation to the public.
So there you have it. I challenge you to get serious about limiting your water use—today! What steps will you take to lessen your impact?
Also, I would like to thank everyone who entered the book giveaway last week. I was a little nervous no one would respond, but I was very wrong! I’m pleased to be sharing The Life You Can Save with EthelQ! I will be in touch. I plan to do another giveaway soon, so stay on the lookout.