Water Is Our Most Precious Resource – Let’s Stop Wasting So Much Of It

The human body is made up of around 60 percent water1. NASA scientists call H2O the “molecule of life2” and it is the first thing they look for when searching the galaxy for planets that could sustain other lifeforms.

We all know that there are parts of the world that experience terrible water shortages, with potentially catastrophic results. And even in the USA, researchers from the University of Stamford said we face major supply problems unless around $3 trillion is invested in the country’s aging water distribution infrastructure3.

All these factors beg one simple question. Given that water is such a precious resource, why do we waste so much of it? Here, we take a look at some facts and figures relating to our water usage and provide some guidance on how everyone can drastically reduce their water consumption, without any detriment to our modern way of life.

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Thousands Lost In Leaks

America has well over a million miles4 of mains water pipes throughout the USA. That’s enough to go from here to the moon five times. As most of this was installed in the 1940s and 50s, it is understandable that leaks in the main water lines are a big problem. But while the municipal suppliers keep working on those, there is plenty that we can do closer to home.

The average household in America loses 10,000 gallons of water every year through leaks. That adds up to around a trillion gallons5 per year that we are throwing away unnecessarily. And remember, that doesn’t include mains leaks, it is just from within our homes.

A dripping tap might seem like little more than an inconvenience, but one drip per second amounts to 3,000 gallons per year. And all for the want of a washer that costs a few cents! The toilets in your home are also a common cause of leaks. The valve that releases water from the cistern to the bowl when you flush inevitably gets worn over time and water starts to seep through. The problem is that as it simply dribbles into the bowl, you will often fail to notice until the dribble becomes a flood.

These are both simple things to fix and are by far the most common causes of leaks in our homes.

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Upgrade Your Appliances And Equipment

If your toilet, washing machine or dishwasher is getting old, you have probably had it in the back of your mind to buy a replacement for some time now. The trouble is, you might see it as an expense that you can manage without. However, the truth is that newer versions use significantly less water, meaning your consumption reduces and so do your domestic costs. In short, they will pay for themselves sooner than you might think!

A low-flush toilet looks better, especially with a matching bidet and new seats. But it also uses half as much water as an old fashioned one. Over a single year, the amount of water the average family will – quite literally – be flushing away reduces by more than 10,000 gallons with a modern toilet. Researchers have calculated that this means your beautiful new toilet will completely pay for itself in around 10 years6.

The same applies with your kitchen appliances. An old washing machine uses more electricity and two or even three times as much water as a new one7. It also takes longer to wash your clothes, is noisy and produces less effective results on delicate garments and tough stains. Do everyone a favor, reduce your costs and minimize your water consumption by investing in a new one!

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Enjoy Modern Luxuries Responsibly

Our 21st century lifestyles can put a strain on the environment, and if you have a pool, you might think of it as something of a guilty pleasure. However, the simple act of keeping it covered when you are not using it will dramatically reduce8 the amount of water that is lost through evaporation – and will also keep it clean.

If you enjoy keeping your garden well watered, look to other water sources, for example from a well if you have one, using an efficient well pressure tank, or even by creating an eco-garden9 and cleverly storing rainwater for later use.

Protect Our Most Precious Resource

The media is full of bad news stories about water shortages and our excessive consumption. It is time for us to do something about it, so why not put some or all of the above ideas into practice today?

10 Tips For Eco-Friendly Water Use

Fix That Dripping Faucet

That dripping faucet might not look like anything to worry about, but over the course of a year, it will add up to an average 3,000 gallons per year. A dripping faucet is usually caused by a damaged washer, and it only takes a few minutes to replace, which costs next to nothing. If there is a drip that has been driving you crazy, make a commitment to stop ignoring it and eliminate all that water wastage once and for all.

Dripping Faucet
Toilet Leaking

Is Your Toilet Leaking?

One of the most common types of leak comes from the toilet, when the flapper valve, which releases the water from the cistern when you flush, becomes worn or damaged. The trouble is, it is not always easy to spot. To check all is well with the toilets in your home, a clever trick is to add a little food coloring to the cistern. Give it 10 minutes, then see if there is any color in the bowl – if there is, you know you have a leak.

Take A Quick Shower, Not A Long Bath

The average bath uses twice as much water as the average shower. By choosing to take a shower instead of a bath, you don’t just save water, you will also reduce the energy usage for heating all that extra water. And remember, the less time you take in the shower, the more water you will save. Every minute under the shower uses another five gallons of water.

Install A More Efficient Toilet

A flushing toilet is one of the most basic necessities in the home. However, a modern low flush toilet uses around 1.5 gallons for every flush, while older ones can use more than twice as much. The average person flushes the toilet 2,000 times every year. In a family of four, that means you could save around 12,000 gallons of water every year by upgrading your toilets! Alternatively, consider DIY alternatives, such as placing a brick or water bottle in the cistern to reduce the volume of water. If you try this, be careful that you do not foul the flushing mechanism, though.

Put A Cover On Your Pool

A swimming pool is perfect on a hot summer’s day, and there are more than 10 million residential pools in homes across America. When the pool is not in use, ensure you leave it covered. The reduced evaporation will lessen the amount of top up water needed by as much as 50 percent. It will also reduce the amount of chemicals you need to add by a similar amount, and at the same time, you will have less work to do removing leaves and other debris that might get blown into the pool.

Put a Cover on Your Pool

Stop Buying Bottled Water

A plastic water bottle uses three times more water than it contains. Furthermore, most plastic bottles end up in landfills and are not recycled, creating an ecological disaster that future generations will be left to deal with. A home water filtration system will give you the same level of purity that you get with bottled water but without the environmental impact. It will also save you money – Americans spend, on average, more than a dollar per gallon on bottled water, while a filtration system works out at less than 10 cents per gallon over the course of 10 years.

Water Your Garden Responsibly

Everyone wants a green and beautiful garden, but be sure to follow any local restrictions that might be in place. If you water early in the morning, more of the water will go where it needs to, instead of simply evaporating into the atmosphere. Also, consider placing water butts around your house. These collect rainwater and runoff from the roof, which you can then use around the garden. Always check the weather forecast before watering the garden, and aim to work in tandem with nature.

A Family Of Four Could Save 8,000 Gallons A Year

Switch Off The Faucet If You Are Not Using Water

People have a strange habit of leaving the faucet running while they brush their teeth. It is hugely wasteful, so switch off while you brush and only run the water when it is time to rinse. It might not sound like a big deal, but it will save up to 2,000 gallons of water per person per year! The same applies when you are rinsing fruit or salad – use a bowl instead of running water, and every time you do so, that will be between one and five gallons of water saved.

Fully Load The Washing Machine And Dishwasher

A dishwasher uses around six gallons of water per cycle, while a washing machine can use as much as 45 gallons. Only switch on when there is a full load ready to go. Doing so could save well over 10,000 gallons of water per year. It will also reduce your electricity usage, meaning lower household bills, not to mention even more benefit to the environment. Also keep in mind that a modern washing machine uses approximately half as much water as an old one. If yours is past its best, it could be time to replace it.

Washing An Average Family Car Uses As Much Water As Ten 5-Minute Showers

Try A Waterless Car Wash

Washing the average family car uses about 100 gallons of water. If you do it once a week, that’s 5,000 gallons every year. A waterless car wash will save all that. It’s an innovative and ecologically friendly way of keeping your car looking its best. You can either buy a water less car wash system to use at home, or there are specialists based in cities throughout the USA and the wider world.

quick facts

  • The average household wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water every year in leaks.
  • Fixing leaks doesn’t just save precious resources. It can also reduce your water bill by around 10 percent.
  • Making your daily shower just three minutes shorter will save more than 5,000 gallons of water per year.
  • A low flush toilet will reduce water usage in the average family household by around 12,000 gallons per year.
  • A plastic water bottle uses three times more water in its manufacture than it will ultimately contain.
  • Keeping your swimming pool covered when not in use reduces top ups by as much as 50 percent.
  • Modern washing machines use about 15 gallons of water per wash, while older ones use at least twice as much. Upgrading will save about 5,000 gallons of water per year.
  • Washing your car uses around 100 gallons of water. A waterless car washer system will save around 5,000 gallons every year.
  • An Eco-garden uses recycled rainwater and means you can keep your yard looking green and fresh, even when there are regulatory restrictions in place.
  • Not leaving the faucet running while you brush your teeth will add up to 2,000 gallons of water saved every year.