Happy World Water Day!
Jenn Rose Baker is taking over on the blog to share how she and her family work to conserve water on a daily basis.
Clean & safe drinking water is precious and undeniably the most important resource in the world. The trouble is only .3% of the world’s water is freshwater while the rest comes from salty sources such as the oceans. According to the WHO/UNICEF 2017 Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene Report, 844 million people do not have access to clean safe drinking water near their home. As a busy mother of three, I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to have to travel, often in harsh conditions, to obtain water for my family every single day.
Back in the fall, our water company had to come and shut off the water for six hours on our street to perform a repair. You would’ve thought that it was the end of the world. I realize how ridiculous this sounds after giving you the stat about the 844 million people without clean & safe drinking water near their homes. This brief inconvenience was what propelled our family into thinking more about how water gets to our home and ways in which we can be less wasteful.
So here are 6 tips in which you can help conserve to impact your local water usage:
1. Turn Down the Pressure!
Many homes, including my 1950s postwar era home, have a pressure regulating valve. This valve allows you to turn down the water pressure which will help save on waste. Plus the less water you use, the more money that you can keep in your pocket!
The water pressure regulator valve, if you have one, is located where your water comes into the house, after the main shut off valve. If you are unaware of where your main shut off valve is, it may be a good idea to ask a plumber to show you. In the event you have a leaky toilet or a broken faucet that is spraying at you, knowing where that shut off valve is can save you a huge mess.
2. Minimize Food Waste
70% of the world’s freshwater is used for agricultural purposes. So when we waste food, we also waste the water required to grow that food and produce those products. This can be motivation for you and your family to be better about eating leftovers. Another way we minimize food waste in my home is by meal planning. When I meal plan I create a shopping list and usually stick pretty tightly to it. On a side note: meal planning also usually means we are eating healthier too. #winwin
3. Grow an Efficient Garden
There are several ways you can save water in your outdoor garden. Start by mulching around plants so that the ground retains water better and the plant will have less of a need for extra watering. Adding a rain barrel in-line on your downspout is so easy, and I did it myself. I love that with the rain barrel, I can water my garden with rainwater rather than having to turn on the faucet. Lastly, if you do need to water your garden do so early in the morning. This will give your plants more time to drink up that moisture rather than allowing the sun to evaporate it during the heat of the day.
4. Update Your Appliances to Energy Efficient Products
In our home, we have low water usage toilets, an extremely efficient washing machine, slow flow shower heads, and I use the dishwasher very infrequently. These changes can mean the difference of several thousand gallons of water each year. These types of products and appliances can easily be found at your local Lowes or Home Depot. Call your favorite handyman and get him or her on the job!
5. Car Wash for the Win!
This one surprised me because I thought for sure I would be using less water at home to wash my car. The EPA requires car wash facilities to reclaim & recirculate a lot of the water. On average, washing your car in the driveway will generally use twice as much water as running through a car wash. You may save a few dollars washing your car at home but you’re not saving any water.
6. Turn Off that Faucet!
I have 3 kids, five years and under, and I often find them running the water needlessly or turning the tub on at random as a way to try and get mom to give them a bath. Even my husband can be found guilty of letting the sink run while he is brushing his teeth. I try to model water conserving habits and gently remind my family members when they could do a better job at conserving water themselves.
In our house, we try to make water conservation into a game. We talk about different ways we can use less water or how to use our water in a smarter way. I hope these ideas inspire you to find even more ways that your family can conserve water and help protect one of our most valuable resources.