9 Things You Can Do to Save Water

From Real Simple

Faucet

Use these guidelines to see how many gallons you can conserve each year.

Turn Off the Faucet While Brushing Your Teeth
Why it’s worth the effort: Brushing your teeth seems like a quick job, but before you know it, four gallons of water may have slipped down the sink.

  • Your one-year effect: 2,880 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if everyone in the U.S. did it for one year: More than four times the Mississippi River’s annual flow of water.

Bring Your Water With You
Why it’s worth the effort: Buying a daily bottle of water may quench your thirst, but it parches the planet. Each one-liter plastic bottle takes seven liters of water to produce. Refilling your own bottle directs the water where it’s needed―into your body.

  • Your one-year effect: 577 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if everyone in the U.S. did it for one year: Equal to the amount of water that would cover Washington, D.C., by 52 feet.

Buy Recycled-Paper Products
Why it’s worth the effort: Products made from 100 percent recycled paper require much less water in their manufacturing than do those made from virgin paper. If your family goes through four rolls of paper towels a week, choosing recycled reduces waste significantly.

  • Your one-year effect: 637 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if every household in the U.S. did it for one year: More than the amount of water that cascades over Niagara Falls in a day.

Install a Low-Flow Showerhead
Why it’s worth the effort: Low-flow showerheads cut water use in half. If you take a five-minute shower using this type of showerhead, the showerhead would save enough water in a year to fill a 15-foot aboveground pool. Plus, you save all the energy that would have gone into heating the shower water.

  • Your one-year effect: 4,550 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if everyone in the U.S. did it for one year: Enough water to fill about 2,100 Giants Stadiums.

Water Your Lawn in the Early Morning or Evening
Why it’s worth the effort: If you irrigate in the middle of the day, evaporation prevents 14 percent of the water from reaching the plants’ roots. Watering the lawn in the early morning or evening can save the typical home owner 87 gallons a week.

  • Your one-year effect: 4,524 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if every household in the U.S. did it for one year: Equal to nine times the annual rainfall in Seattle.

Water Your Lawn With a Hose, Not a Sprinkler
Why it’s worth the effort: The average single-family home pours at least 25,000 gallons of water a year on the lawn―more than double the amount used inside. People are smarter than automatic sprinklers: Watering with a hose is at least twice as efficient.

  • Your one-year effect: 12,500 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if every household in the U.S. did it for one year: Equal to the volume of water in Shasta Lake, in Northern California.

Eat One More Vegetarian Meal a Week
Why it’s worth the effort: It takes a lot of water to grow the grain to feed the cow that ultimately produces a hamburger. Replacing just four ounces of beef in your diet a week with a vegetarian option can save more than 3,000 gallons of water.

  • Your one-year effect: 171,704 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if everyone in the U.S. did it for one year: More than twice the volume of water in the Chesapeake Bay.

Use a Lower Setting on Your Dishwasher
Why it’s worth the effort: Contrary to popular belief, it’s almost never necessary to use the normal setting on a dishwasher or to rinse plates beforehand. The light-wash setting cleans just as well while reducing water use up to 55 percent.

  • Your one-year effect: 2,860 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if every household in the U.S. did it for one year: Equal to the amount of water that would cover Rhode Island by a foot.

Install Faucet Aerators
Why it’s worth the effort: Faucets account for 15 percent of indoor water use and typically flow at twice the rate they should. Installing aerators in kitchen and bathroom sinks fixes this problem for only a dollar or two per sink.

  • Your one-year effect: 1,000 gallons of water saved.
  • The effect if every household in the U.S. did it for one year: Equal to the 10-day water supply for New York City.