By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Energy
For World Water Day, National Geographic has assembled a list of 10 ways you can save water in your home. Here's a look.
The world may be running out of water, but there are a few things you can do to help plug the leaks, so to speak.
To coincide with World Water Day, National Geographic fellow Sandra Postel has assembled a list of 10 ways you can save fresh water -- which makes up less than one percent of all water on the globe, and is the only thing the world's 7 billion people can drink -- in your home.
Among our favorites:
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to save water and energy.
- Install a low or ultra low-volume toilet.
- Eat less meat -- especially beef. "A typical hamburger can take 630 gallons to produce," Postel writes.
- Buy less stuff. Why? Because everything takes water to make.
Which suggestions do you think are the least disruptive to your way of living? And do you think a price on water is necessary for consumers to value it?
More from World Water Day on SmartPlanet:
- Startup Rentricity recovers energy from water systems
- Water's energy potential highlighted on World Water Day
- American scientist wins 2011 Stockholm Water Prize
- Without sustainability, 'severe' water scarcity by 2050
- New irrigation system helps farmers conserve water
- Invention uses sunlight to produce clean water
- In 20 years, water demand will exceed supply by 40 percent
- Why we're running out of water
Mar 22, 2011
Install one of in-wall urinals. Saves an entire flush with every use... Learn efficiency. Shower by. Rinse. Turn off water. Soap & scrub. Turn on water. Rinse. My 12 yo used to stand outside the shower and watch it until I was at a facility where the water system was loaded to 5 times capacity and I took her in and she learned how to shower 'Navy style.' Get rid of your grass lawn! Go native. Especially in places already short on water. If you live in an area of the US which is water-short, don't just think that you can use the Great Lakes--there are international agreements which prohibit removal of that water from it's watershed. Find and repair even the tiniest leaks and drips--they add up to large amounts of water over time! Don't pour out that half-glass of water down the drain--give it to a houseplant or your yard! Avoid cooking by boiling things like vegetables--steam them instead, you'll save water, money and have more nutrients. Quit buying things 'to keep up appearances!' Quite buying things becuase they're popular. Buy what you need, find it used or refurbished if possible. Recycle! If you simply MUST have a lawn, water it before sunrise--you'll use less. Turn the faucet off when you brush your teeth etc. Turn it off any time the water is just going straight to the drain--you pay twice for that water, once for the water and once to get rid of it! Don't buy bottled water! Carry your own, get a purifier if you don't like your local water. I pay around ten cents/ft3. Thats 8 gallons. Do the math. ANYTHING you purchase that you do NOT actually NEED, is a waste of water and money and energy. Now, that's not saying that you don't 'need' art, or books, or anything that serves a non-physical need, but if you don't need it physically, take time to think about it--will you really use it? Or will it be a short-term toy that you'll toss in a closet or let collect dust? For your children's sake, don't buy them lots of things--give them time and hugs, they need to learn how to manage resources, and this means money. Discuss the subject with them, let them earn small amounts doing chores--gifts are for holidays and such. If a kid 'needs' new shoes because there's a new style, make them pay for it themselves--give them the amount that you would spend on a reasonable pair. Children are fantastic mimics, you can say anything, but they will copy your behavior. Set an example. If you have money troubles (who doesn't at one time or another?) Discuss it in front of them, let them learn how to work through such things. Children who have things handed to them do not appreciate the value--they gain no experience in what things cost in 'real' non-monetary terms. They will not learn to make decisions about how they should allocate money when there's not enough for everything--impossible if you give them whatever they seem to want. Resource management, be it water, time, money, energy has to be lived to do any good. Money is convertible to most everything else, but in and of itself, it's just pieces of paper. But managing it is managing all resources. We already devote over 30% of the land on the planet to feeding ourselves. Potable water is a precious resource--only slightly less so than air.
If a product that requires a lot of water is produced in an area with abundant rainfall, then that product isn't actually using up any water (unless it pollutes the water). Chocolate and coffee come to mind. Nobody is irrigating the coffee and chocolate plantations with million-year-old water from an aquifer. That's the true problem, right? Places like Phoenix? And then there are mega-cities that are drawing water from distant sources, like NY and LA. But not growing the coffee and chocolate won't help Phoenix, NY, and LA. I'm sure the situation is similar in other countries. Amazon water can't help Beijing.
I think it's unfair to say, "Eat less meat." Yes, a pound of beef "costs" 1799 gallons of water (with current methods of production), which is much more than a pound of wheat, at only 132 gallons of water. But a pound of goat meat costs only 127 gallons of water. Pork and chicken cost more water than goat, but not nearly as much as beef. And a gallon of coffee costs 880 gallons of water. Imagine how much water a pound of ground coffee costs! You'd save much more water by giving up coffee than giving up beef. Similar water arguments can be made against wine, beer, cheese, and (sob!) chocolate, not to mention cotton clothing and iPads.
Maybe a bit overstated. The biggest single user of fresh water is agriculture, but it usually uses raw (un-purified) water. Treated water is scarce in 3'rd world countries, and a lot of it is wasted by leaky piping. Infrastructure investments, by eliminating such waste, can extend the available fresh water supply, as can re-use of treated water for use on plants.
I feel like this information needs to be more of a focus on our national news, state news, etc. People do not know that this is a problem unless they were already aware and researching it (or they get emails from SmartPlanet!) There are still so many people that don't understand that running the faucet for 2 minutes extra a day can waste thousands of gallons of water! If everyone doesn't start doing something about this, we may not have a future worth looking forward to.
Your title says "10 ways", but you published only 4, and not even a link towards the full list. Could you publish the entire list? (or at least a link towards it)