I waste a lot of water. I always turn it off while brushing my teeth, but I run it before and after to rinse the brush. If I have a glass of drinking water sitting out for more than an hour or so, I dump it and get a fresh one the next time I'm thirsty. When showering I usually take 10-15 minutes, and the water runs the whole time I'm soaping up even though I'm not actually using it during that time. And that's just how I waste it - add the waste from the rest of my family andthat amount is tripled. Why does this concern me? Because I have a huge issue with Americans and their abuse of resources. What we in this country consider to be “normal” usage is actually considered luxury usage elsewhere. Sure, we were taught to turn off the lights in a room when we leave it, but that’s a joke when compared to the gross waste of energy in every other aspect of our lives – the computers, TVs, game systems, dishwashers, washing machines, cars, etc. Turning off the lights is just a tiny drop in the bucket. It would be difficult – and some would say impossible – to limit our usage at this point. Take a five minute shower? Ha! Turn off the technology and read a book to your child? Yeah right! Walk to the store that’s one mile away instead of driving? As if! But what if we HAD to?
We would be amazed at what we could do if we had no choice. If there were limits to the length of a shower, we would find a way to get everything done in that time. If electricity was limited we would make more use of candles during the evening hours, and actually spend time talking and playing with our families. If we had to, we could make do. No one wants to live like that though, because for an American that would be really rubbing against the grain. Do without something – never! Americans have what they want when they want it, and as much of it as they want. It’s excessive, it’s greedy, and its causing problems all over the world now … imagine the problems down the road. Maybe you could limit your usage of something if it meant your grandchildren wouldn’t have to go completely without? Think about it.
You may already know that our planet is 70% water – but did you also know that less than 1% of it is available to us at any given time? US News and World Report says that it only takes 12 gallons of water a day to sustain a human, but Americans use more like 158 gallons. What do you think that is doing to our planet and to our people? Do something good for yourself and future generations: turn off the water. It will help the environment, save energy, and even save you money. See how little water you can use – and challenge your friends and family to do the same. Make a contest out of it! Here are some tips to get started (get ready to watch your water bill go down):
- Don’t let any water get away. If you put a container outside to catch rainwater, you can use it to water your plants on a day that it doesn’t rain. Whenever you run water in the house waiting for it to get hot or cold, catch that in a bucket too, and re-use it for watering plants, washing the car, etc. You can even use it to flush your toilet. And what about the water that comes out of your air conditioner? That can be caught and used too.
- Fix it. Leaky faucets, toilets, and other plumbing can add up to gallons of water wasted every day. The water that runs through your toilet and shower is cleaner than the water that children in many countries have for drinking. Don’t waste a precious drop.
- Stop running. While brushing teeth, shaving, showering, washing dishes, cleaning vegetables, etc we usually let the water run the entire time, even when we aren’t actually using it, because its more convenient. There are ways to cut down on this – one is to install foot pedals rather than handles to turn the water on and off. If that isn’t possible in your home and/or in your budget, then try filling up a container with clean water for rinsing. I don’t know what could be simpler – don’t run water when you aren’t using it!
- Help your appliances help you. Install low-flow shower heads; put a bottle full of water and pebbles in your toilet tank; only run dishwashers and washing machines with full loads. Buy the most water- and energy-efficient appliances you can afford. It may not seem like it at the time, but all those little things do add up.
The most important reason to save water? The population of the world continues to increase, even as the clean water available to us decreases. Those are cold, hard facts, not just someone's opinion. Conserving water NOW will help the economy, the environment, and society. Otherwise, someday your grandchild may ask for a glass of water to drink and you have to say, "No, there is no water. And it's my fault."