“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”
– Thomas Fuller
Though Fuller wrote those words nearly three centuries ago, they capture the reality of life today in California. We’re in our fourth consecutive year of drought, and our governor has ordered the first mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history. Conservation isn’t an option here, it’s the rule.
In the spirit of Earth Day, however, our situation can be used as a positive learning experience for people everywhere, because no matter where you live, water is a finite resource. Here are a few simple water-saving changes we’ve made in our home that can add up to significant savings over time.
Fix the Leaks
An average of 10 gallons of water per day is wasted by leaky faucets and toilets in U.S. homes. A badly leaking toilet can waste 200 gallons per day – the equivalent of flushing your toilet more than 50 times. Fixing leaks is one of the easiest ways you can save water.
Take a Shower, Not a Bath
It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, so showers are generally more water-efficient than a bath. A low-flow showerhead can achieve water savings of 25 percent to 60 percent or about 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower. Using a shower timer (like the one pictured here) will help you keep an eye on the time you spend in the shower.
Don’t Run the Water While Brushing Your Teeth or Shaving
It’s a total waste. In just five minutes you’ll send up to eight gallons down the drain. Multiply that by the number of people in your household and you can save hundreds or thousands of gallons every month, simply by running the water only when you need it.
Even if you live in a place where water is abundant, you may want to consider adopting these easy water-saving tips. It never hurts to conserve water. You can find more advice from the U.S. EPA online.
Here’s another suggestion for those who live in places where rainfall is plentiful: Use rain barrels. They catch rainwater runoff from your roof in a mosquito-proof container. Watering your yard from a rain barrel can make a huge difference in water use since nearly 60 percent of a household’s water goes to yard and garden maintenance.
The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University offers free instructional videos on “Building a Rain Barrel,” “How to Install Your Rain Barrel” and “How to Paint a Rain Barrel.” Check it out.
Have a great Earth Day.