When we first started talking about conserving water last winter with the lack of rain we were getting, even I was thinking “yeah, yeah, I’ll conserve, but it won’t be that bad.” Well, it’s that bad. No rain in sight, though we certainly have had enough overcast days to get our hopes up, and our bodies of water are drying up. Really drying up — just look at our cover photo and check out the story on Brittany App and what she is doing to put the issue in front of people’s eyes.
It’s easy for us Americans to be blind to the crisis, we can hear all about the crisis, but we can still turn on the facets and water will come out. How much water do we use each day? If I were to guess, I’d probably say something like 20 to 25 gallons, I don’t use that much water. But I’m not really thinking about how much water I use doing dishes, watering the small area of grass, washing laundry, taking a shower, drinking water and using the toilet. That doesn’t even take into account how much water is used to grow our food and to process and package it.
According to www.water.usgs.gov, on average each person uses 80 to 100 gallons for water every day. The highest household water used is to flush the toilet and followed by showers and baths. A few ways to reduce how much water you use for those is to replace your toilet and shower heads with low-flow alternatives. For baths, don’t fill the tub as high, especially when it’s for a child. When bathing a baby use a smaller tub or the sink. For showers, use a timer to reduce the length of shower. Old shower heads use as much as four gallons per minute, so every minute less you shower, you’ll save four gallons.
Other options for saving water — and, yes, I do these — is to shower less often, such as skipping a day or two; it’s better for your skin and body anyway. Abide by the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule so you flush your toilet less often. Some of these things are difficult to break in society, but I personally don’t want to be faced without water, or much less water. Can you imagine living on five gallons a day? That question came up when Brittany App and I were discussing ALS’ ice water challenge.
It’s a great challenge and a great organization to raise money for. The challenge has brought a lot of attention to the organization and to the disease, as well as raising a lot more money. However, every time I see a video on Facebook posted by a friend of them doing the challenge, I cringe and think, “Don’t waste the water.” The concept is a wonderful one and I know that if it we weren’t in such an extreme drought, I wouldn’t give two thoughts to the wasting of the water.
Instead of using water, donate to ALS. Or to do the challenge, think about how to reuse water — take a bucket’s worth from the pool and have it dumped on you in the pool — or do it in an area where you water and just water that area less that day. There are lots of ways to participate in the challenge without wasting the water.