10 Inexpensive (Or Free!) Ways To Save Water
One of the things that human-caused climate change threatens to do is change weather patterns slightly or significantly. Places that once received rain may become dry and vice versa. Saving water isn't just smart for your wallet, but communities that use water more wisely will be more resilient to climate change's worst impacts. Here's 10 ways to save water that cost you nothing (or very little.)
This is perhaps the most controversial item on our list. In some places, it is illegal to catch rainwater. You'll want to check your local ordinances before you set up a rainwater catching system.
The amount of water you can catch this way varies from place to place, but on average, you can cut down on your outdoor water use by around 30% by harvesting rainwater. Just be careful about the way you do it. It's not recommended to use rainwater from the roof on your vegetables because of chemicals that can come off your shingles.
If you have an outdoor irrigation system installed, make sure you're timing it right. It's more effective to water your lawn and garden in the evening hours and not the heat of the day. Sprinkler systems that keep water closer to the ground are more efficient as well, cutting down on evaporation.
Cut down on your food waste
Smart grocery shopping can cut down on your water footprint. How? Raising fruits, vegetables, and even meat takes a lot of water. So by reducing your overall waste, you reduce your consumption and therefore reduce your overall water footprint.
Steam instead of boil
Boiling your vegetables is easy, but it takes up more water than steaming. Consider cooking your veggies with steam as opposed to boiling water. Plus, you can use your vegetable steaming water for other things once it cools, like watering houseplants.
Cut down on your meat
Meat takes a lot of water to make, between watering the livestock and the crops needed to feed the livestock. Did you know that one pound of beef requires about 2,500 gallons of water to produce? Plant-based alternatives only use about one-tenth of the water as meat.
Think before you flush
Getting a lower flow toilet can create major savings for you, but it can cost a few hundred up front. Still, the water savings will quickly pay off the new, efficient toilet.
There are a few ways to be more efficient with your laundry. A front-loading washing machine uses less water than a top-loading machine, and waiting until you have a full load to do uses drastically less water. For added efficiency, look for an Energy Star washer and dryer and hang dry your clothes when you can.
Wait, how on Earth does saving energy save water? Refining fossil fuels like oil and natural gas requires water, and fossil fuel-burning power plants use steam to move turbines to generate electricity. Providing juice for your home has a huge water footprint! Here are 11 ways to save energy that are inexpensive and sometimes free.
Shorten your showers
I know it's tempting to hang out in the shower for a while, even after you're clean. It's nice. I'm prone to doing it as well. But cutting back on your shower, even a few minutes, can save a lot of water, energy, and money over time. If you want to double down on savings, pick up a pressure-compensating low flow showerhead. There are a lot of really great models out there. I use a 1.5 gallon-per-minute model, and because it's pressure compensating, it doesn't feel like you're using less.
Turn off your tap
The average faucet uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. If you don't turn off your faucet when shaving or brushing your teeth, that can wind up wasting 250 or more gallons of water a week. It's a tough habit to break, but shut off the water when you're not using it!