How to Save Water at Home
The lack of high-quality freshwater is one of the world's greatest challenges according to the International Water Association, IWA. It affects food security, human health, and our ecosystems. The world water crisis is severe. Approximately 3 billion people are without water at home or in the vicinity. About 4 billion are without continuous access to water. While some people are literally dying of thirst, others need to conserve.
Home water consumption worldwide ranges from 28 to 631 liters (7 to 167 gallons) per person per day according to a publication by the International Water Association. The UN recommendation is about 50-100 liters (13-26 gallons) per person. That means a lot of people consume more water than they need.
The average American consumes more than 370 liters of water (98 gallons) per day. Taking the UN recommendations into consideration, each person in the United States could single-handedly save 98,550 liters (26,034 gallons) per year. This means the nation as a whole would save 31.8 trillion liters, which are 8.4 trillion gallons.
1. TAKE SHORT SHOWERS.
A 15-minute shower, with the water running continuously, consumes 36 gallons (135 liters of water). It can reach 48 gallons (180 liters) if you live in an apartment, where the water pressure is higher. Reducing your shower time to 5 minutes, shrinks consumption to 12 gallons (45 liters).
Use a low-flow shower-head to save water. With that you could then even allow yourself up to 10 min under the shower. If you are using a power shower head, you might be using more water than a bath, no matter how long you stay in there.
2. DON'T LET WATER RUN UNNECESSARILY when brushing your teeth, - or washing your hands, shave, wash your vegetables, dishes, and anything else that needs running water.
For example when you leave the faucet on for 5 minutes, while brushing your teeth, you will consume 5 gallons, (18 liters) of water. If you open the tap only when you need to wet the toothbrush or rinse and close it right afterwards, your consumption will drop to less than half a gallon (2 liters). You can save even more by filling a glass of water and just use that to brush your teeth.
Also don’t rinse your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. That’s what the dishwasher is for. If you argue with me that the dishes come out dirty of your dishwasher, than there’s something wrong with your dishwasher and I suggest you call the manufacturer. If it’s one plate once in a while, you can clean that off after, rather than pre-rising every single item that goes into the dishwasher. It's a huge water waste.
Use a dual flush — offering two buttons-, one with more pressure and one with less – it's more economical than a single flush. The dual flush uses between half to 1.5 gallons (3 to 6 liters ) of water per flush. In the U.S., federal standards require new toilets to use no more than 1.5 gallons (6 liters) per flush, and consumers can choose a toilet with a WaterSense certification from the federal government.
A washing machine uses 36 gallons (135 liters) of water per wash. Wash as much of your clothing as possible at once.
If you can, pre-wash the dirtiest clothing in a bucket by soaking it in vinegar or coconut soap; this makes cleaning easier and therefore reduces water consumption, allowing you to choose a shorter cycle in the washing machine.
5. GARDENING & LANDSCAPING
If you live in warmer climates like California, choose some of Southern California's many native plants and succulents that are naturally drought-tolerant, instead of thirsty lawns.
And if you want to be a water saving pro, use drip-irrigation to keep them watered. It’s a win-win: easy to care for and much easier on the water supply!
If native landscaping isn't your thing or you live in a cooler climate and you do grow grass, let it grow a little taller by setting your mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil, improves moisture retention and leaves more leaf surface to take in the light.
6. CATCH & RELEASE
There's a lot of water that goes down our drains, both indoors and out, that could be captured and reused for non-potable uses. Think about old cups of water, the water that runs while you're waiting for the tap to heat up, and rainwater. All of this water could be saved and used for things like watering plants or flushing toilets.
Or you can get into the habit of using greywater, which is gently used water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines for irrigation. Keep in mind that if greywater is released into rivers or lakes, it's nutrients become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizer.