11 Tips for Conserving Water

News & Politics

Taking a long hot shower is something many of us take for granted, just like turning on the tap when we need to drink, bathe or cook. But for the 750 million people around the world who lack access to clean and safe water, finding enough to cook, clean, or bathe with is a harrowing daily ordeal.

By 2030, almost half the world’s population will live in areas of high water stress, due to a combination of climate change, irresponsible water policies and rapid population growth. Mega-droughts threaten agricultural crises, while increasing wildfires signal that our forests have grown dry and brittle.

Water conservation and protection is a central element of the Rainforest Alliance’s work with farms, forests, and tourism businesses. Shade requirements for coffee farms, wastewater treatment measures and buffer zones to prevent the erosion and contamination of waterways are just some of many proven methods we promote in order to protect Earth’s most vital resource.

You can do your part by making some simple changes to your daily routine.

1. Consider the distance. The transportation of food and other goods requires a great deal of water. It takes anywhere from 2.8 to 6.6 gallons of water to produce one gallon of crude oil. When you choose local foods, you’re eliminating many of these hidden water expenditures from the supply chain. And when you’re checking out at an online retailer, ask yourself—do you really need two-day shipping? Patience is a water-saving virtue.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602747","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"488","style":"width: 600px; height: 458px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

Hanjin cargo ship and tugboat near Savannah, Georgia (image: mwms1916/Flickr CC)

2. When you buy products grown in the tropics (like coffee, tea, chocolate or bananas), look for the green frog seal. Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms prioritize water conservation and the protection of local streams and waterways.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602743","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"456","style":"width: 600px; height: 449px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"610"}}]]

(image: Rainforest Alliance)

3. Buy less clothing, shop at vintage or used clothing stores, swap clothing (this is a great party idea), and recycle your old clothes. The average consumer goes through 35 pounds of new cotton clothing per year — and cotton is one of the thirstiest crops out there: It can take more than 20,000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of cotton. And buying secondhand takes you out of the “fast fashion” cycle — you won’t be supporting unethical labor practices or unsafe working conditions.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602748","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"424","style":"width: 600px; height: 398px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

(image: m01229/Flickr CC)

4. Investigate organic options, which may use less water depending on where they come from. For example, rain-fed organic cotton from Brazil takes just 10.6 gallons of water per pound to manufacture compared with the 782 gallons of water required to grow organic cotton in California, which has struggled with drought. You can also choose clothing made from alternative fibers, like hemp, tencel or silk. These fibers require less land and water than cotton, and they can be grown organically.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602744","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"750","style":"width: 600px; height: 450px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

Leme, Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 10, 2005. A cotton picker worker during the harvest in Brazil. (image: AFNR/Shutterstock.com)

5. Stop buying bottled water. To visualize how much oil it takes to make a single-use bottle, imagine filling the bottle one-quarter full of oil. That’s a lot for a single-use item. Only 15 percent of plastic water bottles are recycled, while every single day 66 million bottles end up in landfills, or, more likely, as land or ocean litter. Try instead a reusable water bottle made out of BPA-free plastic or aluminum, filled with tap water.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602749","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"750","style":"width: 600px; height: 450px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

(Image: aisan Changhirun/Shutterstock.com)

6. Skip baths in favor of short showers under a water-saving shower head, which can reduce the amount used in showering by 40 percent! Bonus tip: the simple act of shutting off the faucet while you shave and lather can save up to 75 gallons of water per week.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602750","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"664","style":"width: 600px; height: 398px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

(image: iPortret/Shutterstock.com)

7. Do laundry only when you have a full load. Use the appropriate water settings and upgrade to energy- and water-efficient washers and dryers. Since there’s a hidden water cost in all energy use, air-drying your clothing saves both energy and water.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602751","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"667","style":"width: 600px; height: 400px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

(image: Daniela Staerk/Shutterstock.com)

8. Choose responsibly produced cardboard and paper — and recycle every scrap! The Rainforest Alliance-FSC certified seal indicates responsible forestry methods that include the protection of waterways. And for every pound of paper you recycle, you can save 3.5 gallons of water.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602753","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"746","style":"width: 600px; height: 448px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

(image: Laborant/Shutterstock.com)

9. Calculate your household water use with this handy tool and challenge yourself and everyone else in your household to lower your impact.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602754","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"667","style":"width: 600px; height: 400px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

(image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com)

10. Water your lawn/or garden mindfully. Nearly 30 percent of daily water use in the U.S. alone is devoted to outdoor use, and of that water, about 50 percent is lost to evaporation. The best time of day to water is in the evening just before the sun sets, when the temperature has dropped, and water is less likely to evaporate. Use a watering can or triggered hose if possible, and keep the stream close to the ground so the water goes right to the roots.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602755","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"665","style":"width: 600px; height: 399px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

(image: eurobanks/Shutterstock.com)

11. Wash your dishes efficiently: If you wash dishes by hand, try the 2-sink method: scrape every bit of food you can off the dish, then wash in a basin full of hot, soapy water, followed by a quick rinse in a basin of cold, clean water. But using a dishwasher properly can actually use less water than handwashing. Also consider upgrading your old dishwasher to a new ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher, which uses less than half as much energy as washing dishes by hand and saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"602757","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"667","style":"width: 600px; height: 400px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

(image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com)

Do you have any other water-saving tips? Share them in the comments!


4 Ways Bottled Water Ruins the Environment — and Your Health

Five Easy Life Hacks to Help the Environment — And Your Own Health

8 Car Hacks for a Cheaper, Eco-Friendlier and More Patriotic Ride

Amazing New Process Treats Wastewater, Captures Carbon and Makes Renewable Energy

You May Be Surprised That These Eight Major World Cities Are Running out of Water

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by fontsempire.com.