I've noticed that most people leave the water running full blast while they brush their teeth. As an experiment, I did likewise, but left the plug in the sink. In an average quick brush of less than a minute, the sink filled up with four liters of water. This means that if you brush twice a day, you'll needlessly waste about 3,000 liters a year. So instead, simply wet your toothbrush, brush away, and then turn on the tap for a final rince, and you've done a small part to change the world.
DYY admits that she used to to leave the faucet on when she brushed her teeth. But no longer... and she's not experiencing any withdrawal symptoms either. In fact, it's probably one of the easiest habits to change in an effort to conserve water.
Water Crisis: not just for poor countries anymore. Industrialized nations must make drastic policy changes if they wish to maintain water supplies, warned the World Wildlife Fund last week, as supply declines thanks to everything from global warming to wetlands loss. A report by the International Water Management Institute said that a third of the world faces water shortages; water use has increased by six times in the last century and will double again by 2050, mostly from agricultural use. WWF suggests a combination of solutions -- conserving, repairing infrastructure, reducing pollution, and requiring agriculture interests in rich countries to pay more for water and be held accountable for efficient use -- but noted that implementing common-sense measures "in the face of habitual practices and intense lobbying by vested interests has been very difficult."
Here's some more very easy tips to conserve water in your household:
1. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water. So set your sprinklers for more days in between watering. Saves 750-1,500 gallons per month. Better yet, especially in times of drought, water with a hose.
2. Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints. Saves 20 gallons per day for every leak stopped.
3. Don't run the hose while washing your car. Use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end. Saves 150 gallons each time. For a two-car family that's up to 1,200 gallons a month.
4. Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors. Saves 500 to 800 gallons per month.
5. Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.
6. Shorten your showers. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.
7. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. Saves 150 gallons or more each time. At once a week, that's more than 600 gallons a month.
8. Don't use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Saves 400 to 600 gallons per month.
9. Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or your garden. Saves 200 to 300 gallons per month.
10. Don't water the sidewalks, driveway or gutter. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands on your lawn or garden where it belongs--and only there. Saves 500 gallons per month.