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Water, Water Everywhere – Celebrating World Water Day

POSTED UNDER Energy & Conservation

It’s the most plentiful resource on our planet, covering 71 percent of the earth’s surface according to the United States Geological Survey. At the same time, it’s one of the most precious resources – one that people in many countries struggle to obtain on a daily basis –and one that’s absolutely critical to all life. Humans can survive only a few days without water; only air is more important.

Tomorrow, on March 22, we’ll celebrate World Water Day, a day designated to raising awareness of the 663 million people worldwide living without a safe water supply close to them.

Here in the United States, we’re fortunate, because that’s not an issue for most of us – though some regions are perpetually wracked by drought and others struggle with water rights and even contamination issues like the ones endured by the citizens of Flint, Michigan.

But even though we have access to plentiful supplies of safe, clean water, it’s still a limited resource and one that is critical to protect. Only four percent of the water on earth is fresh water. This includes the water moving in our lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater – and that’s the water humans need to survive. The rest is the saline water in our oceans, which can only be consumed by humans after an expensive desalination process.

Water conservation also means protecting natural ecosystems as well as the survival of wildlife – protecting endangered species as well as preventing others from becoming endangered. The same rivers and streams that we rely on are also critical to their survival.

Conserving water also saves energy: pumping water from a central facility to your home or office consumes energy and even more energy is needed to heat it. In California, an estimated 6.5 percent of all energy consumed goes toward moving water from one place to another, according to iSustainableEarth. So, conserving water reduces your carbon footprint – and it saves you money, as well.

What You Can Do

There are a lot of easy ways to cut down on your water consumption – without affecting your quality of life. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

1. Only run it when it’s full. Only run your dishwasher or do a load of laundry when you have a full load. For the dishwasher, use the shortest cycle possible (many newer dishwashers have an “eco-friendly” mode).

2. Hand-wash frugally. Hand-washing dishes? Instead of running the tap continually, partially fill the sink to wash, then rinse using the spray attachment.

3. Brush smarter. Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth, and turn it back on only for rinsing. You’ll save about 80 percent of the water you’d otherwise use for this frequent activity.

4. Fix it fast. Have a leaky faucet? Get it fixed right away. A single leaky faucet can waste thousands of gallons a year – and that’s literally money down the drain. And, always be sure to turn taps off tightly so they don’t drip.

5. Xeriscape. In your garden, select plants that are native to your region. They’ll require less watering, since they’re adapted to live in the water normally available in your climate. And you’ll make the pollinators, like bees and butterflies, happier too. Oh, and once again – you’ll save money.

6. Replace your lawn. While we’re on the subject of the great outdoors, consider replacing your water-hungry lawn with more native plants, rock gardens or other natural materials.

7. Clean green. Use environmentally-friendly cleaning products that won’t pollute waterways when they’re washed away after use.

8. Reduce flow. An aerator or water-flow reducer is easy to install on your faucets, and it can significantly reduce your water usage.

9. Avoid the bottle. A huge amount of fresh water goes into packaging bottled water (and the single-use plastic bottles are an environmental nightmare). Carry a reusable water bottle with you, and you’ll be doing the environment a double favor.

These easy ideas will go a long way towards water conservation in our communities – and they’ll save you money, protect wildlife, and make the world a beautiful and greener place. We hope you’ll try at least a few!


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