By Ross Robinson
As a homeowner, you may be searching for ways to lower your monthly utilities. Water conservation has always been one way to do it. But today, saving water is becoming more of a necessity than a cost-saving measure. It’s now critical to ensure we all have enough.
Recent droughts and water cleanliness issues are making accessing adequate amounts of clean water more difficult, and unfortunately, the problem is growing. Climate change combined with current usage volumes will strain resources further each year.
Water conservation has grown from a seasonal necessity to a year-round commitment. Doing the work efficiently and in a cost-effective manner requires everyone’s individual participation. The good news is that there are easy ways to reduce water usage at home while lowering water and heating bills simultaneously.
This article explains how to save water at home. We cover everything from home products to lifestyle changes that minimize water waste. We also dive into why this work is so important right now.
Water Conservation: It’s More Important Than You May Know
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. population has doubled since 1970. At the same time, the usage of water has tripled. Additionally, 40 states expect water shortages by 2024, and scientists warn that many areas of the U.S. could see water supplies reduced by as much as one-third in as little as 50 years. It’s clear that water usage needs to change now and over the long term.
The issue of water scarcity also extends beyond U.S. borders. Water shortages are increasing worldwide due to hotter temperatures, less snowmelt, overuse of aquifers, and less waterfall. Water limits threaten crop production and farm profitability while affecting businesses and lives closer to home with higher water bills and increased water bans. It even leads to something that you may not think about: increased health risks.
According to Scientific American:
Damns, piping, and water treatment facilities are reaching their life spans, affecting water availability and purity.
Drought areas create higher concentrations of chemicals in stored water.
Sudden increases in water from massive storms caused by climate change add more sediment to water than treatment facilities can handle, resulting in additional notices to boil and ration water.
Climate change has brought more fires that deposit ash and debris into reservoirs, reducing the amount of usable water.
Climate change is also affecting the country’s dry and wet areas. According to National Geographic:
Dryer areas of the country have less water.
Wetter areas of the country experience water surges so large that they’re difficult to capture.
Snowmelt occurs earlier in the year, filling rivers quicker in the spring and providing less water further into the year.
Additionally, increased temperatures and population numbers will only exacerbate the problem further. Simply put, there is a decreasing supply and rising demand for water, and it won’t end soon.
The Water Crisis in the United States
Water shortages are increasing globally but seeing them closer to home puts the issue in perspective. Here are just a few examples of issues in the U.S.
The Colorado River, which feeds water to seven states, has shrunk 20% over the last two decades and will shrink an additional 9% per each degree of warming.
California is in its driest period on record.
Arizona is under permanent drought conditions.
South Florida aquifers are being overused, leading to saltier water.
Cities across the country are experiencing issues of tainted water, including:
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Fighting these issues costs money — and a lot of it. At the same time, expanding on traditional solutions like reservoirs and mining aquifers have environmental and fiscal costs.
Desalination works, but doing the work comes at twice the cost of handling freshwater.
Moving water from wet to dry areas is expensive and sometimes too complex.
At the same time, providing clean water in highly affected areas, such as Jackson, Mississippi, is expensive, logistically challenging, and time-consuming.
U.S. dams were built to last 50 years, but their median age today is 60 years, and many conditions of the dams are still unrated.
There are 850 water main failures daily nationwide, each requiring repair that comes at a cost.
13 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make at Home to Save Water
Adopting ways to conserve water is key for reducing water loss and minimizing the spending needed for improved water storage and conveyance, and the proof is in the data. Here you can see how much water is used in your state and how water conservation by all your state’s residents drastically reduces usage.
How do you do it in your backyard? It’s easier and cheaper than you may think. In fact, many solutions cost no money at all. Here are some of the best strategies for saving water in the home:
Changes You Can Do Today
Use cold water for laundry
Take showers instead of baths
Check and fix leaky faucets and pipes monthly/quarterly
Stop using your toilet as a garbage can
Purposefully boil water to decrease waste (limit excess water)
Run your clothes and dishwasher simultaneously, and make sure they have full loads
Minimize garbage disposal usage by composting
Place a rubber brick in the toilet to limit the amount of water being flushed
Don’t clean your driveway or patio with water
Use water strategically for your landscaping. How? Check out our article devoted to intelligent lawn care.
More Involved Changes That Boost Your Conservation Further
Increase mulch in lawns
Build a rain garden, a concave section of ground at your roofline. The depression collects water to create a natural, hassle-free planting area.
Xeriscape your lawn. Xeriscaping is a landscaping technique involving plants that require very little water.
Change your diet. Believe it or not, the food you eat is one-half of your water footprint. Not all foods require the same amount of water. Click here to learn more about it.
Home Updates That Reduce Water Usage
In addition to the rainwater barrels listed above, here are products that prevent water waste at home.
Cold water laundry pods
Tap sink nozzles
Soil moisture meter
Upgrade your windows
Energy-efficient washing machines
Smart home water monitors
See What Your Current Water Consumption Looks Like
You can gain more clarity on exactly how much water you use daily. You may find you use more water than you think. This Water Footprint Calculator helps you drill down on every home activity to help you estimate just how much water you use and where you can taper down.
Following this and the other strategies above will significantly reduce water usage to keep your bills down and provide more water for everyone. You will do a world of good.