7 Ways to Conserve Water at Home

by Kay Lynn

Water is a precious resource.  Wars have been fought over it for centuries.  In the U.S.  those wars have moved from shoot-outs to legal battles over water rights.

In the Western world we have access to running water that never runs out.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t always treat it like  a valuable commodity.  Even less now that we don’t get a water bill as it’s covered by the homeowner association fees.  We all need to be part of the solution and here are seven easy ways to cut down on consumption.

1. Turn off the Faucet. Turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth will save 4 gallons of water a day. You’ll save more by doing the same when rinsing dishes or cleaning vegetables.

2. Buy Energy Star Appliances. Spend the extra money and buy a Energy Star certified clothes and dish washers.  They will save you money with reduced water usage every load.

3. Drive a Dirty Car.  It might become cool to be the one with the dirtiest car.  This might not be realistic long-term but instead of running the hose and making a mess at home, patronize the water-saving car wash.

4. Have a Meatless Meal.  Eating meatless at least once a week saves you money in more than the grocery price.  Raising farm animals takes much more water than growing vegetables.

5. Buy Reusable Water Bottles.  You might not even have to buy them.  I received three free ones at the last conference I attended.  Manufacturing disposable plastic bottles uses a lot more water than drinking water from your tap.

6. Shower with a Bucket.  Use a bucket in the shower to catch water that would just go down the drain.  This is a great source of water for plants or cleaning.

7. Install a Fake Lawn.  Artificial lawns are becoming more common in California and look much better than it sounds.  Every square foot of lawn uses one-half gallon to water.  If you don’t like the fake grass then think about moisture-sensing sprinkler systems or drought-resistant landscaping.

Let’s make sure our kids have plenty of water at affordable prices by being good stewards of this precious nectar.

You can find more information on saving water at H2O Conserve.  This article is part of Blog Action Day 2010 where bloggers all over the world join forces on a single topic.

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Corve DaCosta October 15, 2010 at 6:02 am

Drive a dirty car – 🙂

Once we conserve water. Water is life, so many people without it.

Money Beagle October 15, 2010 at 7:05 am

Actually, you have to be careful about driving the dirty car. Many things that make your car appear dirty also contribute to the formation of rust. Road salt is, of course, the most notable of these things, so it’s important to regularly rinse off the car from this and other corrosive chemicals. Using a few gallons of water every couple of weeks to rinse off the chemicals, versus letting a car die a premature, rusty death (necessitating a new one being built, a process which most likely consumes tens of thousands of gallons of water) is the better long term (and money saving) option.

Kay Lynn October 18, 2010 at 6:18 am

@Corve: I wanted to give myself permission to cut back on the car washes!:)

@Money Beagle:I never thought about salt on the road because we don’t have it here on the West unless you’re traveling to the mountain areas. What other chemicals would there be?

Crystal & Co October 15, 2010 at 10:04 am

I am finally cool! I’ve been drivig a dirty car for years! 🙂

Kay Lynn October 18, 2010 at 6:18 am

Crystal: I bet you didn’t even know it, right?

Tiffany October 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I’m good on driving a dirty car 🙂 A few of us in the family have reusable water bottles, but I need to buy some more. Love that your ideas are doable!

Mrs. Money October 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I do a lot of these, and I’m glad you’re bringing awareness to these issues! Way to go, KL! <3

Kay Lynn October 18, 2010 at 6:20 am

@Tiffany: You should see my office at meetings. Many of us are carrying reusable bottles. Each person also has their own recyclable trash can in their office to make it easy.

@ Mrs. Money: I knew you would already be doing so money. You’re the guru of being green and frugal!

Roshawn @ Watson Inc October 16, 2010 at 6:50 am

I completely missed Blog action day. Well I guess there’s next year. Thanks for highlighting these!

Money Reasons October 16, 2010 at 1:55 pm

At work I see people who don’t (1. Turn off the Faucet) when they brush there teeth! They be bushing for 5 to 10 minutes (and sometimes more), with the faucet on full, how wasteful. I always shut the faucet off when I brush my teeth!!!

Like Roshawn, I missed Blog Action Day too… Perhaps next year…

Christine | Coffee & Finance October 16, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Oh, if my mom caught me with the water on when brushing my teeth…I’d hear it. That is a big pet peeve of hers! Great list, BB. I’m all for having a meatless meal. 😉

Kay Lynn October 18, 2010 at 6:22 am

@Roshawn: I’ll remind the yakezie earlier next year. I found out about it from a Problogger post.

@Money Reasons: Thanks for including me in your round-up!

@Christine: I’m glad to know you were trained at a young age. Your mom was ahead of her time in water conservation. The meatless meal is a new thing my husband and I are trying. I must confess we’re not good about having one every week but will keep striving.

Aloysa October 17, 2010 at 10:56 am

Interesting… Water is a precisous resource that might run out one day. Unfortunately we are taking it for granted. Thoughtful post.

Abby B October 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm

An artificial lawn would be amazing, I wonder what it would take for universities to install it around university housing, because in the desert they have the lawns watered at least once or twice a day! Even though we’re not paying for the water, that still has a huge environmental impact.

Greg McFarlane October 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm

No, water is not going to run out one day. Well, it will in the sense that the sun will eventually go red supergiant and boil the Earth, but that’s our grandkids’ problem.

Conserving water is obviously better than wasting it, but with water costing about .05¢/gallon, the savings are difficult to measure. The underlying assumption of this post – that water is so precious a resource that we should reengineer our lives to conserve it – isn’t borne by water’s extremely low price. If I forgo an evening’s chicken for succotash, how much water am I saving? How big an economic effect will it have, and can you measure that effect in units as large as a penny? Or is actually measuring and quantifying things not all that important?

Kay Lynn October 18, 2010 at 6:29 am

@Aloysa: North Americans take many things for granted that there is not an endless easy supply available. Because of the small amount of rain we have in the Southwest, conservation is very common.

@ Abby: I have a couple of friends who have installed artificial lawns. They’re much better now than they used to be and easy to maintain.

@ Greg: To discourage high use of water, many water districts or cities in the southwest have tiered rates. It works; now people cut back so much some of districts want to raise rates to make up for the lost revenue. Ay, ay, ay.

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