Conserve water in 20 easy steps

Photo: istockphoto.com/Eric Delmar
Many people believe there is an unlimited supply of fresh water. But droughts in Southeast USA, Africa and Australia are showing there's a need to conserve water. Thirsty communities Global warming is playing a part but water resources are also at risk from urban development, an increasing human population and pollution. Over 700 million around the world don't have enough water scarcity and each more than one billion are forced to use dirty and harmful water. The United Nations is predicting the number will rise to more than 3 billion by 2025. In 1992, The United Nations General Assembly established World Day of Water (March 22) to promote water conservation and declared The International Decade for Action 2005-2015. Even if you leave in an area with a relatively large, inexpensive supply of clean water, water conservation is important. Water conservation tips The American Water & Energy Savers, the EPA and Environment Canada have the following suggestions for conserving water in your home:
  • 1. Ensure that all taps and toilets are in good working order. Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints.
  • 2. Install low-flow aerating fittings on showers and faucets which can significantly reduce water flow.
  • 3. Teach children about the importance of water conservation and how they can save and protect water. Show them Environment Canada's publication Explore Water With Holly Heron.
  • 4. Check for water leaks by reading the house water metre before and after a period of time, say 2 hours, when no water is being used. If the metre has changed, there may be a water leak.
  • 5. Install a low-flush toilet.
  • 6. When shaving, fill the sink with a few inches of water instead of leaving the tap running.
  • 7. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
  • 8. Only use your dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load.
  • 9. Take showers, which typically use less water than baths.
  • 10. Shorten the length of showers.
  • 11. Don't flush the toilet unnecessarily.
  • 12. Turn the shower off while you are shampooing your hair.
  • 13. Check to see if your toilet is leaking by adding some food colouring to your toilet tank. A leaking toilet will have some food colouring in the bowl after approximately 30 minutes.
  • 14. Do not use the toilet to flush facial tissues and other trash.
  • 15. Keep drinking water in the fridge so that you don't have to run the water waiting for cool water to drink.
  • 16. When waiting for hot water to come through the pipes save the cooler water in a container and use it to water plants.
  • 17. Insulate your water pipes so that you get hot water faster.
  • 18. Don't use running water to clean vegetables, clean them in a sink or pan of water.
  • 19. When buying a new washing machine select one that uses less water (and energy.)
  • 20. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead.
  • For even more tips on conserving water, visit the Water Use it Wisely website. Glenn Perrett is a freelance writer with a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo.