Most people know we should conserve water, but they aren't really sure why or how. According to the Environmental Protection Agency – a premier source of facts about water conservation – less than 1% of water on the entire planet is actually usable for humans. That means it is a limited resource and it takes a lot of energy and effort to produce and transport clean water, as well as to process waste water.
You may be thinking, "I'm busy! I barely have time to get done everything that's already on my to-do list, much less figure out ways to conserve water." Fortunately, conserving water is actually easier than you think. Here are seven easy ways to save water – and consequently, save money on your monthly utility bill.
Repair leaks. Did you know that a small leak in your toilet or faucet can waste 20 gallons of water a day? And larger leaks can lead to hundreds of gallons of wasted water per day! Leaks for an average household can result in more than 10,000 gallons of water that literally go down the drain for no good purpose. This is equivalent to the amount of water needed for 270 loads of laundry! Test for leaks in your toilet by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank; if there's food coloring in the bowl 15-30 minutes later, you've got a leak!
Choose showers over baths. If you're really looking to decrease your water bill, limit the number of baths you and those in your household take. That's because showers use 10-25 gallons, while the average tub takes 70 gallons to fill.
Limit showers. It's true that shower time can be relaxing for your body and your mind, but limiting it to five minutes or less could save you a lot on your utility bill – and help out the environment as well. Even a reduction of 1-2 minutes can save your household up to 700 gallons per month.
Upgrade toilets. Toilets manufactured before 1992 use up to 3.5 gallons per flush. Switching to a low-flow toilet with the WaterSense label can save a family of four approximately $2,000 in water bills for the life of the toilet. If all older toilets were upgraded across the country, these high-efficiency toilets could save nearly 2 billion gallons of water per DAY.
Water your lawn during the coolest time of day or night. Did you know? Approximately 29 billion gallons of water are used every day by United States households. Almost 30% of that is used outdoors. If you are watering your lawn during the warmest part of the day, a lot of it is likely being lost to evaporation before getting a chance to work.
Run full loads. Always make sure your dishwasher or washing machine is full before running it so you use less total water in a month. Also, don't hand wash dishes, since the dishwasher uses one-sixth less water. Hey, you're conserving water AND saving yourself time and energy. It's a win-win!
Sweep instead of spray. When you spray off sidewalks and driveways, you use approximately 50 gallons of water every five minutes. So hand the broom to your kiddos and tell them to get sweeping!