Water makes up about 70% of the globe. It is the most important substance to sustain the life unique to our planet. Whether we’re watering our plants, washing our clothes, cooking, or taking a long drink after a hot hike – we use it every day. Though it may seem we have an endless supply, we can only use about 1% of the Earth’s water supply, because this limited 1% is the only freshwater we have readily available for use. With the Earth’s population expected to rise another 40% within the next 50 years, there will be more of a demand for water than there ever was before.
Did you know that if we continue to use water as abundantly as we do now, we will have a water shortage within the next ten years?
40% of our country’s rivers and lakes are polluted by factories, which destroys some of the little drinking water we have. With our usable water supply at risk, it is especially important to conserve water within your household. You may be thinking that your home won’t make much of a difference, but you have the power to make changes that will save hundreds of gallons of water every month. Each area of your household can be used as a tool to conserve water. By implementing these easy ways to save water, you are helping our environment and lowering your water bill at the same time.
Climate Change & Increasing Drought Conditions
According to drought.gov, as of August 2022, more than 40% of the United States was classified as being in drought. In fact, due to the Colorado River’s historically low flow, seven states that rely on it as a water source were given more water restrictions to conserve. However, it’s not just the West’s desert areas that are affected. States and communities on the East Coast have also placed limits on water use that’s considered nonessential.
What exactly defines a drought, though? The USGS defines it like this: “If an area receives less rain or snow than expected over the course of a year, it can be classified as being in drought.” Unfortunately, while this definition may sound simple, it goes far beyond this.
The problem is that the effects of drought conditions don’t stop at water stored in wetlands, lakes, or rivers, but extend to water stored below ground in aquifers and soil. If these below-ground water sources are used up, dry ground turns into a sponge and begins sucking up more and more surface water to replace these sources. Combine this with the snowpack melting too early in the year, and the ground will become increasingly dry and “thirsty”. This means that even if an area gets plenty of rain and snow, or even more rain and snow than typically expected, this water will be sucked up and stored underground, continuing drought conditions despite rain and snow levels.
The problem we’re facing now is that climate change is making droughts more common, longer, and more severe. Of course, it’s important to combat climate change for our planet’s long-term well-being, but in the short term, finding ways to save water is crucial.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pot of water.
- Designate one glass or water bottle to drink water out of so you don’t have to continue washing new cups throughout the day
- Compost vegetables and fruits instead of using the garbage disposal. It will power up your plants and save water.
- If you accidentally drop ice, don’t throw it in the sink – put it in a house plant. If there’s any ice left over from a drink do the same thing.
- Try to use fewer pots and pans when cooking, you’ll have less to wash.
- Click here for yummy recipes that only require the use of one pot! Perfect for warming up during the cold season.
- Leave a tub in the shower to get the excess water while it warms up. You can use this water for your plants!
- Take a shower right after someone gets out so you don’t have to wait for it to warm up.
- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save 100+ gallons a month!
- While washing your hands or brushing your teeth, turn off the sink when you’re not using the water.
- Plug the sink while shaving to save water when rinsing your razor
- Use a tub of water to shave instead of letting the shower run
- When washing clothes make sure you’re washing a large load instead of half a load
- Only wash your clothes after a few uses
- Harvest rainwater in a few different ways to save water and have it for later use. If you’d like more information on harvesting rainwater – read up on your options here.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks, and driveways
- When giving your pets a fresh bowl of water, use the leftovers to water plants and trees around the house or yard.
- Only order water at a restaurant if you’re going to drink it.
Making these simple changes in your life and around your house can make such a huge difference overall. Not only are you helping yourself, but you’re helping your community and your environment. It may be a bit challenging to remember everything at first, but as time goes on you’ll pick up these habits and take them as your own.
MORE FUN FACTS ABOUT CONSERVING WATER!
Personally, my favorite ways to save water are the little things I do around my household. I take shorter showers knowing every time I bathe I’m saving gallons of water. I also enjoy taking my dog and washing him in spots I knew I missed when watering my yard last. If you’d like to use a soap that’s good for the environment and easy to find, you can stop at your local market and pick up Dr. Bronner’s biodegradable soap. You’d be using environmentally responsible products and it’s less of a mess for you to clean up! Though I had a slightly difficult time adjusting, I ended up getting used to doing these things. Knowing I do my part to make a small difference in the world makes it so much easier to retain these habits. I encourage you to do the same because in the long run – you’re helping our world as a whole.
Help ECOLIFE Save Water & Create Sustainable Food Systems – Donate Today!
At ECOLIFE Conservation, our mission is to protect our planet’s precious resources – like water! – as well as vulnerable species like the monarch butterfly. Sustainable agriculture and Aquaponics are some of the most important ways to do this, which is why we started our Sustainable Agriculture Program.
Through this program, we’re saving water and creating sustainable food systems for local communities at the same time.
Aquaponics only requires 10% of the water that traditional soil-based agriculture uses while also eliminating pollution caused by pesticides and conserving energy. Our Modular Aquaponics Response Kit (M.A.R.K.) was developed by our Sustainable Agriculture Program and is currently in action at our Aquaponics Innovation Center (AIC).
But this program would not be possible without the generous support and dedication of people like you! Please support the replication of the M.A.R.K. by donating, so we can build additional systems for communities in need. Donate today to begin creating an impactful legacy.
Originally written by Shannon Cartwright, ECOLIFE Intern