Though we might not think of it as readily as shutting out the lights, conserving water is just as essential for doing better for our planet.

Unlike energy, we can control our usage of water relatively easily, and seemingly small steps can help our individual impact on water conservation.

Here are 21 tips to get you started on saving this important resource.water saving toothbrush 300x183 21 Ways to Save Water

Look at Your Dishwasher Settings

Many defaults on dishwashers, surprisingly, aren’t the eco-option. Take a look to see if it is in its “eco” mode. Additionally, shut off the dryer setting and let them air dry, instead.

Run Fewer, Fuller Loads

Wait until you have enough laundry to run a full load for your washer. Same goes for your dishwasher – don’t run it until it is completely full. Both options will save water and your appliance runs more efficiently.

Prep Your Produce

When you get home from the grocery store, fill a medium bowl with water. Clean your vegetables and fruits by swishing them around in the bowl instead of of rinsing them under a tap that is constantly running. Reuse that water for houseplants.

Use a Rain Barrel

Commonly sold in and about your city in the springtime, rain barrels placed below your gutter downspout will help capture water and save it for another use. How much? For every square foot of your roof, it will gather a little more than half a gallon of water during a one-inch rainfall. Then use this to water the garden.

Schedule Your Sprinkler

When it’s hot during the afternoon, never water your garden or lawn – there is too much evaporation that is lost in the air. If the area you live in is very hot or dry, water in the evening. If it is moist, opt for the mornings instead.

Eat Meatless Meals

Consider that what you eat accounts for about half of your water footprint, eating less meat  will help reduce it. This is because of all the that is water needed to raise the livestock. Some food for thought: it takes 1,857 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef.

Reduce Excess Paper

Creating paper creates waste and takes its toll on the water supply. In fact, about 28 billion gallons of water are used to produce it. One way to help this? Contact companies and get yourself off of their junk mail lists.

Reuse Your Linens

Let’s be honest, it isn’t really necessary to grab a fresh towel every day. Consider using the same one for a week.

Turn Off the Tap

Sounds obvious, right? You might already do this when you are brushing your teeth, but try to think of it in other circumstances, too, such as washing your dishes.

Take Shorter Showers

Another obvious option, but here is the fact: reducing your shower time by just one minute will save 2.5 gallons of water.

See How Much Water You Use

To figure out how much water you really use, go to the Water Footprint Calculator or download the Waterprint iPhone app (Free from itunes .com).

Don’t Flush Your Pee

You know the saying, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow… if it’s brown, flush it down”? Consider this: if you stop flushing down your pee, a family of four could save 45 to 55 gallons a day!

Get New Shower Heads

Test out your shower head by placing a one gallon bucket under the faucet. If it fills it in less than 20 seconds, consider a new one. Regardless, if the shower head drips, you should opt for an upgrade, anyway. Go for on that is labeled EPA WaterSense, which could save more than 2,300 gallons annually.

Opt for Natural Declogging

Sodium hydroxide, and other toxic chemicals, are laced throughout conventional drain cleaners. A much better solution to flush into our waterways? Pour equal parts baking soda, white vinegar, and boiling water down the drain. Let sit for half an hour. Rinse.

Fill your Toilet Tank

To conserve water in your toilet, place a plastic pop bottle filled with sand or stones inside the tank of the toilet. This will displace some of the water, so you’ll end up using less per flush.

Fix Your Toilet

If you have a toilet that is constantly running, you might be using up about 200 gallons (or 40 flushes) every day. Instead, get it fixed or buy a new one, specifically ones that have been given the WaterSense label. This label certifies that the toilet efficiently uses 20 percent less water than conventional ones.

Pick Up Dog Do

Gross as it is, harmful bacteria from dog feces can easily make their way into storm drains and pollute our waters.

Use Organic Fertilizer

Compost, bonemeal, peat, and other natural options add nutrients and don’t expose our produce and plants to the toxic chemicals found in conventional alternatives. Even more, the conventional types can seep into the ground and contaminate our water supplies.

Ditch the Hose

A quick way to clean up might be with a big spray down of our driveway, porch, or patio, but save water and use a broom instead.

Check for Leaks

To check to see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the tank and check the bowl after 15 minutes. If the color has seeped in (and you haven’t flushed) there is a leak. Fixing this leak will save about 200 flushes a month, is easy to fix, and helps conserve water and energy.

Become Anti-Bottled Water

We already know the plastic is bad, but 3 liters of regular water go into making just one liter of bottled water. Go for the stuff out of the tap, instead — just double check local water drinking regulations. If you can’t? Buy a reusable bottle and opt for a water filtering system instead.


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