Our Social Responsibility: 7 Ways to Conserve More Water
Even though only 4 percent of California’s water footprint accounts for personal use, it does not mean that residents shouldn’t help to conserve more water. Here is a list of eight easy tips that we can make into habits, whether we live in apartments or in houses.
1. Take Shorter Showers
We all know, we could take shorter showers, not only when in a drought. What do we actually do under the shower, besides cleaning ourselves? We stand under the water, contemplating, dancing, singing, relaxing. It just feels so nice, when the warm water is heating you up. To me it is similar to staying in bed when it is cold outside. But if we reduced our shower time by only 2 minutes, we could save about 10 gallons per shower, according to the Boston University.
2. Stop Watering Your Lawns
Outdoor watering usually accounts for 50-75 percent of residential water use! If we stopped watering our lawns, imagine how much water we would save. We all know, grass is a plant. Grass too just like any other plant has a dormant period and a time when it blooms and grows. Why not let nature take its course? The average grass grown in Mid and Southern California may be drought resistant, while growing in spring, summer and early fall. In winter, it is dormant, which means that we can all stop watering our lawns right now.
3. Reduce Your Meat-Eating Habits
As I already mentioned in my previous article “5 Facts You Need to Know About the Californian Drought,” for one pound of beef raised in California, 2464 gallons of water are needed! This equates to not showering for six months! The average pound of beef raised in the United States needs roughly 1900 gallons of water. On the other hand, one pound of chicken needs about 290 gallons of water. I am urging you to do more research on the water consumption of our food items. We can make a huge difference, if we took the responsibility of learning about our foods.
4. Fix Dripping Faucets
I used to live in a in a run down house, owned by a shabby landlord (not my proudest moments of my life) and our faucets were dripping constantly. This was definitely not one of my biggest problems at this house, but it highlights my question: how much water do we waste due to dripping faucets? On the US Geological Survey website, you can insert information about how many faucets you have in your home and about how many drips of water per minute are wasted in your home. It then calculates the amount of water wasted due to these dripping faucets. It’s pretty neat. In the poor house I used to live in, we had four faucets, and I estimated that approximately ten drips were wasted per minute. This would mean that approximately 3 gallons of water were wasted every day only at my house, just because we did not fix the faucets! Just imagine that your neighbor’s faucets drip, too. And how many other homes don’t fix their faucets! That equates to a whole lot of water wsted for nothing.
5. Use Reusable Products
It is much more obvious that we can save water by let’s say cutting back on shower time, or by fixing our faucets. But we oftentimes forget about the fact that almost every other product we use also consumed water at one point in its manufacturing process. We can hardly stop using products, but we can take charge and responsibility by making intentional choices about the products we use. It starts with as small as bringing reusable water bottles and coffee mugs, but it goes as far as not buying a new phone for the sake of having the newest phone. Paper products use a whole lot of water, in fact 500 sheets of virgin paper takes 1,321 gallons of water to make. Use reusable products whenever you can, and don’t give in to consumerism.
6. Save and Reuse Water
I love the cold weather, I think it is a nice change to the always sunny – always warm climate that we are spoiled with here in Santa Barbara. But one thing I noticed was that now more than ever do I need my shower to heat up, before I can jump into it. I have wasted, what seemed to me, a great amount of gallons while waiting for the shower to heat up. So I took a bucket from the backyard, put it in the shower and simply watered my plants with it afterward. Not only do I not feel bad about waiting for my shower to thoroughly warm up now, but also do I water my plants regularly. It is a win-win.
7. Wash Dishes by Hand vs in Dishwasher
The debate over which option of these two is more “green” has been a long one. A lot of factors go into the debate, such as the amount of dishes, the type of dish washer you own, whether you own a gas or electric water heater, and more. According to Treehugger.com, if you can successfully wash and rinse a soiled dinner plate over a cup of water, then hand washing your dishes might be more effective, otherwise the dishwasher prevails to be more green. However, I would argue that it really depends also on the model of your dishwasher. Mine is extremely old, the kitchen at my house was built in the 1970s (and it looks that way, too!). I only use the dishwasher, when I host dinner parties or other social events. If I only do my own few dishes I resort back to hand washing my dishes. Not letting your water run, while your are soaping up the dishes adds to conserving water. Not letting the water run on “full throttle” additionally cuts back on water usage. My advice: be wise about washing your dishes. Whether you use the dishwasher or you wash dishes by hand, make sure you do it most efficiently!