Today is World Water Day. To celebrate, here’s a pop quiz: do you know how much water you use every day? It may be more than you think as the average American household uses 350 gallons per day. This is my shocked face :-O
As desert dwellers, we’re hyper-aware of our precious water. Plus saving water means saving money and who doesn’t like that? Here are twelve ways to conserve water, save some sheckels and earn a little smug self satisfaction for your eco-groovy self.
1. Fix that leak. A leaky faucet can drip away over seven gallons of water a day. Fixing the leak will save 5o bathtubs of water each year – that’s a boatload.
2. Turn water off while brushing your teeth. This is the easiest fix of all and can save up to eight gallons per day. What’s not to like?
3. Install low-flow showerheads and aerator faucets. Easy to install and many low-flow showerheads are under $10 at your neighborhood hardware store. This simple step can cut your water usage by as much as half.
4. Skip the bath, take a shower. Showers save water. A five minute shower (or long ten minute shower with a low-flow showerhead) uses about one-third of the water you’d need to fill the bathtub. A bathtub takes 60+ gallons of water and a shower only about 20. Do the math and you’ll find some serious savings.
5. Dishwasher vs. hand-washing dishes. It’s dishwasher for the win! If you fill up the dishwasher, it’s no contest that this saves money over hand-washing. And don’t bother rinsing off the dishes first, just scrape the plates and most dishwashers can handle the rest. This simple step alone can save you 20 gallons per load. And you avoid dishpan hands.
6. Washing machines like a full load. Washers are most efficient when you run a full load. One large load uses about 40 gallons and two medium loads use roughly 60 gallons. Ka-ching.
7. Use the broom. Instead of hosing off the driveway, sidewalk or patio, grab the broom instead. This saves 150 gallons or more each time.
8. Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water in the shower or at the sink, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or your garden. Saves over 200 gallons per month and your perky plants will thank you.
9. Harvest rainwater. Want free water? You got it! Just put the water running off your roof to good use. A simple way to harvest rainwater only requires a barrel at the end of a gutter downspout. The captured water can be saved to water the garden or wash the car.
10. Install gray water irrigation. This project may require a plumber, but it can save you a lot of the water by irrigating your yard with the not-really-dirty water from showers and washing machines. Think of it as free water the second time around.
11. Choose water-saving appliances. The Energy Star label will help you pick dishwashers and washing machines that use up to half the water of less efficient models. Less water, more savings. How zen.
12. Install a dual flush toilet. Even better than a low-flow toilet, it allows you to use just the right amount of water depending on what kind of waste you’re flushing.
What is your favorite water saving tip? Do you know how much water you use at home? Share with us in the comments.