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Will Water be Worth its Weight in Gold Soon?
Water, that substance that is vital to life, is quickly becoming scarce. Everything on this earth requires water and humans are no different. However, unlike most life on this planet, man can manipulate, control, conserve, and mandate what happens to that most precious gift, water.
If the consumption of water remains unchanged, it’s being predicted by top scientists that water is going to be literally worth its weight in gold by 2020. That’s just 6 years away, friends. Although you might look around you and think that there is plenty of water, looks are deceiving. Although it’s true that about 70 percent of the world’s surface is covered in water, only 3 percent of that water is fresh water and only 1 percent of that available fresh water is accessible for humans.
Long term sustainability is no longer just a good piece of advice but has become mandatory. Humans haven’t put much thought into their water sources, which has helped to dwindle water supplies. Vast developments where there is little or no water to begin with, our aging water infrastructure, and continued growth in the manufacturing sector, which can require huge amounts of water. Our never ending quest for lush, beautiful gardens and lawns, swimming pools, manmade lakes, golf courses, and fishing ponds have grown consistently over the past 60 years and doesn’t show any sign of slowing.
The availability of water in most large cities in the USA is a widespread and pressing problem. Even though the problem has been declared as “dire”, information about how most people can save water is unclear or falls on deaf ears.
Environment magazine stated in their issue from July/August, that an average US household only needs about 13 gallon of water per day ( on average) for basic needs, they tend to use 98 gallons of water every single day. This isn’t due to negligence or an intentional recklessness, but out of a lack of information, more than anything else.
When surveys are conducted about how people could best save water, most people respond that they should take shorter showers, rather than use more effective practices with toilets. Almost all survey respondents vastly underestimated their average water usage.
Many of the ways that most households can save water involve spending some money upfront in the way upgrading appliances or adding an upgraded type of modification to their current plumbing system, which, although it involves upfront costs, pays off in the long run when it saves both money and water.
Simply finding ways to conserve water can be beneficial to more than just our immediate pocketbooks. When you conserve water you can vastly extend the life of your septic tank by reducing soil saturation. The less water that flows through your septic tank, the less the probability that pollution will escape to the ground. The less water you use, the longer you can go in-between having your system pumped out. Some neighborhoods have reported that through communitywide conservation efforts, expensive sewage system expansion projects were avoided.
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Below are the top 7 ways to save water both through more efficient appliances as well as curtailment actions.
1. Upgrade your landscaping
Use water-wise landscaping instead of lawns. If you love the look of green grass, many of the new types of turf grass look and feel completely natural. Depending on your location, you might try desert landscaping, which replaces lawns with gravel, or decorative rocks, with various types of flowering cactus sprinkled throughout. Replace ornamental shrubs with large, decorative rocks or statues. Be creative! There are dozens of low or no water landscaping ideas online.
2. Stop toilet water waste
Toilets account for about 38 percent of the water used in most households. So first, check for leaks. Place a small amount of dye in the tank, (such as food coloring) then wait to see if anything leaks into the bowl. If it does, adjust the water level or consider buying a new, low flush toilet. Most people can replace toilets on their own and the new models run less than 200 dollars. Also, never use your toilet as a trashcan or ashtray. Every time you flush a tissue or cigarette butt, you waste about 5 to 7 gallons of water. You might also want to think about how often you flush. Seriously, for most of us, we don’t have to flush every little thing do we? Some families have adopted a water saving mantra of “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, when it’s brown, flush it down.” Hopefully, you catch the drift and this doesn’t require a more detailed explanation.
3. Turn off the water
This means turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth, while you soap up in the shower, while you are washing the car, even when you are washing your hands. It might seem silly to shut off the faucet for 15 or 30 seconds but all those little ½ gallons add up. Fill the sink with a bit of water and rinse your razor when you are shaving instead of rinsing it under running water. Don’t wash dishes under running water but fill two sinks, one for washing, one for rinsing. When washing vegetables, don’t allow the water to run, use a pan or bowl of water or rinse them in a sink full of water. These little tricks save literally gallons of water every day.
4. Only wash full loads
This includes the dishwasher and the washing machine. Never let these appliances run their full cycle for just a few items. If you have a couple items that you simply must wash, such as a uniform for work, wash it by hand in the sink. Also, consider replacing older appliances with Energy Star rated machines that use considerably less electricity as well as water. Front loading washing machines tend to use much less water than top loading machines. If you really want to go a step further, instead of allowing your washing machine to dump water into the sewer system, reroute the drain hose to water your garden, or have it dump into a barrel so you can water your plants by hand. As long as it doesn’t contain bleach, simple household laundry soaps won’t hurt your lawn or your flowers.
5. Save rainwater
This is a common practice in most countries that works extremely well. Instead of allowing rain to get washed into the sewers, add rain gutters or reroute your rain gutters to empty into rain barrels so that you can use that water later for your plants, lawns, car washing, dog washing, or what-have-you. Just one inch of rainfall on a 1,000 square foot roof can add up to 600 gallons of water. If you have enough land, consider placing an underground cistern for that rainwater to be collected in. A small water pump can be connected to a garden hose, and you can have all the “free” water you wish for your yard or garden all summer long, even if there is a drought!
6. Use your broom and get a free workout
Don’t use the hose to wash down driveways and patios. You waste about 5 gallons of water every 5 minutes! Use your broom and build up those biceps while you are at it! If you must wash down a concrete surface, use a bucket of water; sweep the water and dirt away, instead of running the hose.
7. Put low flow or aerators everywhere
If you haven’t already done so, those low flow showerheads and aerator faucet heads are inexpensive and you can install them yourself. These really do add up to great water savings and most people never notice the difference. Before you buy, check the label for the GPM (gallons per minute) Showers will need the 2.5 GPM in order for you to feel as if you have sufficient pressure, as well as for the kitchen sink, but for bathroom faucets, go with the 1.5 GPM. You save a gallon of water every single minute the faucet is running but you won’t notice the difference.
Don’t forget to check for leaks everywhere and have them repaired promptly should you find any. Be creative in your water conservation efforts so we don’t find ourselves high and dry someday.