Water is something that we take for granted in the United States. We use it in dozens of areas of our lives, yet rarely pause to consider the long-term ramification. Not only is water expensive, but we could soon face a shortage.
Despite the fact that 70 percent of the earth is covered with water, just 2.5 percent of it is drinkable. And according to the United Nations, 30 percent of the global population in 50 countries will experience regular water shortages by as early as 2025.
In other words, we shouldn’t be so quick to waste water. Just because it comes out of the tap when we turn on the faucet doesn’t mean there’s an unlimited supply. Though you can’t control what others do, you can ensure your household is conserving as much water as possible.
Water Consumption in the United States
Data shows that the average American family uses roughly 300 gallons of water per day at home. Roughly 24 percent of this water usage is from the toilet, while another 20 percent is from the shower. Approximately 19 percent of water consumption comes from the faucet, while the washing machine accounts for 17 percent.
While it may not be a problem in the United States just yet, access to clean water is becoming a global issue. The Guardian reports that one out of nine people in the world lack access to clean and affordable water within 30 minutes of their homes. And within a few short decades, it’s possible that Americans in some communities will face similar issues.
Then there’s the cost of household water. Research shows that the average water bill is $72.93 per month for a family of four using 100 gallons per day per person. But that’s just the average. If your family uses 50 percent more water than average – which is easy if you have a larger family and/or extenuating circumstances – you’ll spend around $115.50 per month. On the other hand, those who use 50% less than average spend just $36.90 per month. That means households using 50% less water spend $78.60 less per month than those using 50% more (or roughly $1,000 per year).
No matter which way you slice it, reducing your water usage in the household is a net positive. The question is, where do you start?
Simple Ways to Conserve Water in the Home
The good news is that conserving water doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of areas of your life where you’re wasting water without even realizing it. By cutting back in the following ways, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your household water usage next month.
Turn off the faucet during tasks. How many times do you turn on the faucet and then leave the water running while you complete another task? By cutting down on this habit and only turning the water on when you’re ready to use it, you can save gallons of water every single day. (Running the faucet for 60 seconds uses nearly a full gallon of water.)
Switch to a bidet. Did you know the average toilet in the U.S. requires five gallons to flush (and the average American will flush five times daily)? This heavy flushing capacity is primarily due to the use of toilet paper. By switching to a bidet instead, toilets can use less water and be flushed less frequently. (Not to mention this would reduce the need for toilet paper manufacturing, which is a process that requires significant amounts of water.)
Use your dishwasher the right way. Many people incorrectly assume that washing dishes by hand saves water. However, you’re actually better off using a dishwasher – so long as you use it properly. Always run a dishwasher with a full load and set it to the shortest possible cycle time. Avoid the pre-rinse and purchase an energy-efficient option the next time you upgrade appliances.
Take shorter showers. Finally, take shorter showers. The average shower uses two gallons of water every minute. If each person in a family of four shortens their showers by three minutes per day, they could save as much as 720 gallons per water every month (or 8,640 gallons per year).
Will You Do Your Part?
You aren’t going to save the planet on your own, but you can certainly do your part in addressing a serious need. On top of that, you’ll see your monthly utility bills decrease almost immediately. What are you waiting for? It’s time to do your part in making this planet a better place.