Here are 10 easy Ways to Conserve Water even if you don’t live a strictly green life!
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I’m not the type of person that lives a strict and rigid green life, but I do like to do the small things that I can while still leading a comfortable life to help make the world cleaner and greener. I truly believe that if we all do something similar, it really can make a big difference. Earth Day is coming up soon on 4/22, which always gets me thinking about new ways I can help make the Earth a better place for us all to live. In the community we’re currently living in, we actually don’t have to pay for our water usage. I find that sometimes leaves us not worrying quite as much about how much water we’re using. So, in honor of Earth Day coming up, I decided to think of 10 basic and easy ways to conserve water.
1. Don’t let the water keep running when it doesn’t need to. We’ve all heard countless times that we shouldn’t let the water run when we’re brushing our teeth, however it can also make a big difference when washing your hands (I know I can take a minute or more to really scrub and soap up my hands after gardening, hands on cooking and more.), shaving, etc. I’ve also been guilty of leaving the water running when washing dishes, but have started using a dishpan to let the dishes soak and use so much less water that way. It’s also tempting to wash fruit and veggies with running water, but you’ll use much less if you use a pan or bowl full of water. Throw in about a tablespoon of vinegar and let the produce sit for about 10 minutes and they’ll actually get cleaner than when you just rinse as well!
2. Give your bathroom a small makeover. The bathroom is a place where most of us easily use the most water. Luckily, it’s one of the easiest rooms to implement water conservation methods as well. Implement low-flow showerheads, low-flush toilets, and displace water in your toilet with plastic containers filled with water or pebbles, etc. Faucet aerators can also be installed to use less water.
3. Only wash full loads of clothing and dishes. It can be so tempting to run a small load of clothes so you can wear your favorite pair of jeans again or run the dishwasher with just a few dishes to have that specific container clean. However, you can save so many gallons of water if you only wash clothes and dishes when you have a full load.
Rain barrels are a wonderfully practical way to keep your garden watered and thriving.
4. Have a garden? Invest in a rain barrel and water early or late in the day. When I was growing up my father always had a large tin container to catch rain water from the gutter that we’d then store in plastic soda bottles, milk containers and the like to use in our garden over the summer. I much prefer today’s new approach of using rain barrels as it’s far more practical. Not only does it help save water from watering your garden, lawn or plants, but our garden seemed to also respond better to good old fashioned rain water. Also, do you watering early in the morning or later in the evening and never while it’s windy. If you don’t, the water will evaporate very quickly and not really help your plants at all.
5. Drink from the tap? Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge. Do you still drink your water from the tap? Especially during the summer it can be tempting to let the water run for several seconds to get cooler, but it’s a waste of water. Why not fill up a water pitcher instead and stick in in the fridge so you always have cold water on demand?
6. Check for leaks and drips. I like to check all our faucets and hoses at least a couple times of years to check for any leaks or drips. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, all those drips and leaks can add up quickly and also put a strain on your water bill.
7. Have leftover water? Don’t let it go to waste! I tend to have leftover water in glasses that I know I won’t drink. Instead of tossing it down the sink, I’ll often pour it into the cat’s water bowl or water a plant with it. If I’m cooking veggies, I’ll sometimes save the water to make stock with or as a base for soups or stews as it only adds more flavor, or again to water the plants with (this adds nutrition to the soil for the plants, too). The same goes for pasta water (plus it’s great to thin out sauces with), and you can even buy a steamer basket to go above your pasta so veggies can cook at the same time. I’ve also always read that the water you used to hard boil eggs is great for tomato plants. Just always make sure you let the water cool down so you don’t kill your plants and to freeze any liquids that won’t be used within a couple days.
If you’re limited to potted plants like we are, these ceramic self-watering probes take out a lot of the guess work – and are great if you need to travel!
8. When you water your lawn, garden and/or plants, water thoroughly. At first thought it may seem to make more water conservation sense to water your lawn, garden and plants only a small amount more often, but the exact opposite is actually true. When you thoroughly water your plants, the water will get down to the deep roots which means the plant can use the water more effectively and it will also take longer to dry out. When watering your lawn, you can set out a small empty tuna can and when it is full, your lawn should be thoroughly watered. For my garden, I like to be able to stick my finger down at least a couple inches and still see wet dirt, while with my potted plants I water just until I see water coming out of the drainage holes. You can also place clean plastic soda or water bottles without the top on and with the end cut off into the dirt to help manage watering gardens and potted plants.
9. If it’s yellow, let it mellow. I remember constantly hearing the saying “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” during my childhood. While I admit it’s not the most appealing of ideas, and certainly not something we do when we have guests over, it can save a lot of water.
10. Be mindful of how much water you’re using. This will of course vary from person to person, but if you truly want to work on ways to conserve water, take a few moments to audit your water usage and see what you could improve. For example, I always try to take quick showers, but I have long, thick hair that takes a few minutes to properly shampoo and condition. I don’t really use the running water as I lather my hair, so I have started turning the water off while I shampoo and condition.