We tend to wait until drought conditions before we start conserving water. The reality is, climate change is affecting our weather patterns now. Officials in places that normally may not have to combat drought conditions are asking residents to reduce water use.
In California, long used to water restrictions, there’s a saying: “If it’s yellow, then it’s mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down!” But if letting the toilet sit without flushing just isn’t for you, here are seven other ways to conserve water at home now.
Think before you put water down the drain
Can that water be used to wash a dish or water a plant? Simply thinking about the way you dispose of water will cause you to be more mindful about your water use. Your little windowsill plant may benefit from it too.
Change your showering habits
Are you showering every day? You really don’t have to, you know. As we’ve reported before, skipping a shower or two during the week may be healthier for you. Keep more healthy bacteria on your body to defend against bad bacteria, and enjoy silkier skin and softer hair by giving the shower a break. When you do shower, be sure to limit the time you spend under the water. About 30 percent of our indoor water is used in showers and baths. If you want to take conservation up a level, install a super low-flow showerhead.
Don’t use a water source when there’s an alternative
Instead of defrosting meats under running water, defrost them in the refrigerator by moving them from the freezer the night before you plan to use them. Sure, it takes a little planning, but it saves water and is safer for you in the long run. Think about how you use other water sources at home. Many of us are tempted to flush tissues or captured bugs down the toilet. Toss them in the trash can instead and save a flush.
Pay attention to your toilet
On the subject of saving a flush, be aware of the handle on your toilet. Does it get stuck or does the water run for too long after you flush? Replacing a toilet handle is simple. It doesn’t require any specialized tools, it only takes a few minutes, and it can save gallons. Increase your conservation efforts by replacing your toilet with a low-flow version.
Use a different water source for the garden
Did you know around 40 to 50 percent of the water used by households is used outside? Rain collection barrels are a great way to collect rainwater for later use in the garden instead. If you have the money and can find an installer who specializes in gray water systems, it’s worth it to divert water from your showers, sinks, toilets and clothes washer to the yard. We’d love to see homes built with the feature as a standard since water conservation is a growing concern. For now, we’ll have to be satisfied with activists and green installers to help us out.
Pay attention to sprinklers
Water in the early morning or evening hours for the highest absorption and lowest evaporation rates. Also pay careful attention to where the water is going. Make sure you’re watering the grass and your plants, not the street, sidewalk or driveway. Put sprinklers on a timer, too, to ensure you’re not over-watering the lawn.
Inspire conservation for the future
If you have kids or work with them, you have the incredible opportunity to inspire conservation awareness in the next generation. Teaching kids how to time their showers and getting them involved in home water conservation efforts will not only help them, but they will also help you. Kids are great at reinforcing “rules” when they involve all members of the family.
However you choose to conserve water, whether you change your habits, or you go to the full extent of installing new systems and appliances, a little change goes a long way.
How are you conserving water at home?
Megan Winkler is an author, historian, Neurosculpting® meditation coach, certified nutritional consultant and DIY diva. When she’s not writing or teaching a class, Megan can be found in the water, on a yoga mat, learning a new instrument or singing karaoke. Her passion for a healthy mind-body-spirit relationship motivates her to explore all the natural world has to offer.