We know water is important. It fuels all life and grows our food. It gives us everyday useful products, allows us to cook our food, and gives us swimming pools to cool off in during the summer months. It helps firefighters fight fires and can even be a form of renewable energy. Oftentimes, water is viewed as an unlimited resource and it’s easy to believe this when it seemingly magically appears from our faucets.
In reality, the world is quickly heading into a global water crisis. UNESCO anticipates that half the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025. Which is currently only five years away.
Water scarcity is concerning for multiple reasons, some more obvious than others. Without water, we cannot grow food. In the US alone, we use 50 billion gallons of fresh water a day for agriculture. Not only do humans need water, but bees do as well, in fact, without water whole ecosystems can collapse.
Water also plays a large role in politics and war. According to UN-Water, since 1948 there have been 37 incidents of acute conflict over water. The Syrian Water Crisis exasperated conflict in the Syrian War. In Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia disputes over water sources have intensified tribal wars.
Water is such a deeply ingrained necessity for human and non-human life that we view its presence as an indicator of viability on other planets. Without it, human life is not possible.
In developed nations, it is easy to lose sight of the significance of water conservation. Water flows freely to most people’s homes and it is easy to forget that it is a finite resource. Most Americans are not willing to give up the quality of life “endless” amounts of water can provide. Regardless of the convenience, if we don’t make changes soon our wastefulness will start to affect us as much as it does countries in other parts of the world.
Here are five ways you can conserve water in your daily life to help reduce the global water crisis we are facing.
1. Turn Off the Faucet
One of the simplest ways to save water, and yet one of the easiest to forget, is to turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth or washing your face. This is one most people struggle with consistently. Find creative ways to remind yourself, such as a note on the bathroom mirror, whatever helps you get into the habit of switching off unused water. Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, alone can save up to 200 gallons of water a month.
2. Take Shorter Showers
Opt for taking a shower whenever possible. While a bath has stress-relieving and rejuvenation properties, it actually uses more water than a shower and shouldn’t be your daily cleanliness ritual when choosing to save water. Taking a 5-minute shower uses 10-25 gallons of water, while a bath uses up to 30 gallons, also a cold shower isn’t just healthier for your body it also saves energy, too. Finding other means of stress relief, such as mediation or curling up with a good book, may help you in reducing the time spent in the shower relaxing each day.
3. Drink Out of a Reusable Bottle
While water doesn’t go “stale” when it is left sitting for long periods of time, the truth is, most of us fill a glass and leave it to sit without finishing it, only to toss it out later when we’re thirsty again because it’s deemed unappealing. The use of a glass can be wasteful for daily use. Between the waste of unfinished water and the water used to keep the glass clean, the simple matter is there are other ways to drink our needed H2O without wasting it. Try using a stainless steel water bottle, even while at home, and enjoy the convenience of stale-free water without the unnecessary water waste.
4. Consider Reducing Meat Consumption
On average, it takes about 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat, while it only takes 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of grain. Reducing the amount of meat you consume can create a huge positive impact towards your personal water conservation. Whether you eat meat for every meal or not at all, choosing one meat-free day a week can save thousands of gallons of water.
5. Say Good-Bye to Thirsty Fabrics
Cotton is comfy, cheap and versatile. It is also slowly contributing to soaking up our planet’s water like a sponge. According to the World Wildlife Fund it takes 2,700 liters, or about 713 gallons, to make a single cotton t-shirt. Alternatively, purchasing fabrics such as tencel or hemp not only help save on water but also cause far less pollution than cotton. Choose clothing pieces and fashion brands striving for less water waste by way of recycling practices or sustainably-sourced textiles.
There are countless ways you can conserve water every day. Starting might feel like a sacrifice, and as with any practice we get better over time, the water saved as a result of conscious consumption can help change our global water crisis into a sustainable water-filled future.