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The Conservation of Water

Drought stricken cracked earth.

The subject of the importance of the conservation of water came up recently at a new parents meeting. I wasn’t prepared to field questions about how to conserve water since the meeting was about easy steps for having a green home and a chemical free, organic baby nursery.

But since we are smack dab in the middle of one of the hottest summers on records, with a record number of states suffering through either a full on drought or drought-like conditions I decided that there would be no harm in venturing slightly away from my notes (that had tips on reducing chemical exposure in the family home) to focus on current events. I’m posting some of the FAQs and tips I offered to the audience below.

What is conservation of water?
Water conservation is nothing more than saving water. There are many, may ways of doing so on both a large and small scale. Each and every person can do some small part from not wasting water by leaving the faucet running while you are brushing your teeth to the CEO of major corporations searching for ways to manufacture products with less water.

Why is it important that we conserve water? We have plenty! After all the earth is literally covered in ocean water.
Yeah, we have plenty of salt water, which should be great news for you if you are a fish. What we don’t have enough of is unpolluted, fresh water suitable for drinking by humans and we especially have very limited water resources during record heat waves.

Here are 5 easy ways to save water at home.

Save money and time by washing a sinkful of dirty dishes in the dishwasher!
1. Dish washing techniques with the conservation of water in mind.

If you have a dishwasher fire it up and use it! The automatic dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. To be sure that you don’t counteract your savings, don’t use the extended, pot scrubber cycle unless it is necessary and do not pre-rinse.
If you hand wash, do NOT rinse the soap off each dish. As you wash, load each dish in a wire, in sink rack and use your sprayer or a pitcher of water to rinse them all at one time.

2. During a heat wave, it’s inadvisable to wash your car at all. Wash the windshield if you must, but let washing the body of the car wait until the water shortage is over. Even then, it’s best to use an automatic car wash over washing with a hose in your driveway. If you prefer the old-school method, install a sprayer on the end of your water hose that will shut off the flow of water when you don’t need it.
Don't play in the water or wash your car during a heat wave!

3. Getting clean without wasting water is so easy, just take shorter showers or keep the water level in your bathtub low. Showers feel so darn good it’s easy to fall into a habit of enjoying the spray for much longer than we should. To be sure you don’t stay too long in the stall, set an egg timer and step out when it dings. If you want to be really fancy, buy a special timer that sticks to the wall of your shower.
To give you an idea of how shaving those minutes off the length of your shower time pays off; consider that anywhere from 20-40 gallons of fresh water goes down the drain every 5 minutes. OUCH! When I think of how much water I’ve wasted, I feel so ashamed!

4. Water is for humanity not your yard.

I, personally, have a problem with people who water their yards any time much less when the conservation of water is so important. What’s more important, that we have water to drink or that they have a lawn like a golf course (chemicals and all but that’s another article).

5. Cover your swimming pool when you aren’t swimming in it!

Who knew that swimming pool cover was good for more than just keeping leaves and your neighbor’s Labrador out of the pool? Your pool cover keeps you from having to add water to your pool that was lost to evaporation. During times of low humidity or windy conditions, pop the pool cover on top.

Most of the tips for saving water in your home are virtually pain free other than the last one; dragging a pool cover around can be aggravating when you’re ready to go swimming. But even if there is no painless path towards the conservation of water, since we can’t live without it, it’s worthwhile to do what we can to be sure that there’s always a drink of water ready and waiting when we open the tap.