Water is a precious resource, without it life would cease. People like to see water around them, flowing in a fountain in a yard or hear the waves at the beach. The Romans went to great lengths to direct water into their cities’ centers for the public baths. Yet today, when environmental challenges are very real and pose existing and future problems to ourselves as well as other species, water is a key resource to focus on keeping safe and plentiful. Not only that, water bills can be extremely high- thus when you reduce water usage, your bill size follows. Unless you are homesteading your property or living off the grid, your water is likely delivered through a public utility company. Knowing a few small efforts to save water add up and help lessen the demands on current resources and work to encourage a culture of preservation and appreciation for our resources. There are many things you can do to use less water, so why not do them starting today?
How to save water at home
Washing, anything, the body, dishes or clothes generates the most waste water. Using safe, eco-friendly cleaning products will also contribute to a lower footprint and healthier environment.
The bathroom one of the top places where water goes down the drain unnecessarily. The sink, shower and toilet are main offenders. You probably know to turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth, that’s an easy one. But when it comes to the shower and toilets, there is less you can do and may consider buying new appliances to ensure that water will be saved. Putting a brick or other heavy solid object in the tank of the toilet will reduce the amount of water it requires for each flush. For the shower, a low flow shower head and/or a on-off switch used to turn the water off while you are shaving or shampooing will significantly help. Generally taking showers uses less water than a bath.
The kitchen requires water to wash dishes, either by hand or in the dishwasher. When washing by hand, turn off the water when you soap up. Fill up one side of the sink and use it for rinsing the pre-washed dishes. When the last dish is washed you can bucket out some of the water and use it in the outdoors or on houseplants as long as you use a gentle eco-dish soap.
There are dishwashers that are “efficiency” and use less water. If you are in the market for a new dishwasher consider one of these to save water and money in the long run. Always run the dishwasher when it is entirely full.
The laundry room is another part of the home that demands a lot of water. Firstly, start making sure that you are only washing clothes that truly need it. Wash only when the machine is full and use the efficiency setting if it has one. Also, use a biodegradable detergent that creates minimal suds so the washer will not require more than once rinse to remove the suds.
Watering the outdoor landscape, namely your lawn is one of the absolute worst offenders when it comes to wasting water and money. You have a few awesome options for reducing the water bill. For instance you can landscape with native plants that naturally require much less water, make your front yard a rock and succulent garden, or plant a vegetable garden in the front lawn and mulch the rest. Although you will still need to run some water to your vegetables, at least you will be getting back a healthy (not to mention delicious) product as opposed to a water-wasting plain lawn.
These are all ways to significantly save water around your home, but if you are looking for a truly integrative and sustainable system you will want to install a water harvesting tank and a greywater system to run the kitchen and laundry water out into the garden. Capturing rainwater from the roof and using it as the main or supplemental source for your water needs, then transferring the water into your garden to help grow your own food supply is a very practical and efficient way to be self-sustainable and truly save water.