How to Save 150 Gallons of Water Per Day
Fresh water accounts for less than one percent of all the water on the planet. It’s the Achilles heel for every civilization, as there is no life where there is no water. You could say it is the basis of our daily lives, but we don’t pay it much thought.
As the USA heads into yet another year of drought, it’s time to get efficient with our use of water in the home.
Water use in the USA is typically around 180 gallons per day per person. In Ghana it is five gallons per day; we could certainly do more with less.
You can reduce your home water use whether you are in the arid south or water-rich states up north, in order to save money and conserve resources. Once water has been used, it takes a lot of energy to process it in order to bring it back to drinking water quality, so any savings you make also have a positive impact on carbon footprint. Double bonus!
Here are five things you can do to save water at home:
1. Invest in a low-flow showerhead.
Anything lower than 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) is considered low-flow according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standard. A showerhead with 1.25 gpm of flow still feels like a 2.5 gpm shower, thanks to new technology. Reducing flow from 2.5 gpm to 1.25 gpm can save you 12.5 gallons every time you take a 10 minute shower. That’s 50 gallons per day in a household with four people showering daily! Get more information.
2. Affix low-flow faucet aerators to every faucet in your home.
You can do it yourself for about a buck a piece. They screw on easily. Low flow is considered to be anything below 0.5 gpm according to LEED. Most faucets flow at about two gpm. Reducing your faucet flows to 0.5 gpm can save you up to 21 gallons per day in water.
3. Reduce your lawn and garden irrigation.
Nationwide, irrigation uses more than 7 billion gallons of water a year! Many people over irrigate their lawns or irrigate at ‘hot’ hours during the day, which can cause plants to lose up to 80 percent of water through evapotranspiration (this is basically how plants perspire). Irrigate your gardenonly before 10am or after 7 p.m. in order to make sure your thirsty plants get the most from your precious water. Save up to 60 gallons per day by watering wisely. You’ll find more information here.
4. Watch your wash.
Most washing machines typically use 30–40 gallons per load. Using a front loading machine will halve that amount of water and get your clothes cleaner. Studies have shown that front loaders are more efficient at cleaning clothes (they get tossed around a lot more so the dirt can shift out of them) and if you seek an Energy Star rated machine you will also cut your energy use and save even more money. Given that most households do 300 loads per year that’s an annual saving of 4,500 gallons of water per year or 12.5 gallons per day!
5. Run the dishwasher only when full.
You might feel like running the dishwasher even when it’s half empty just to get the place clean, but bear in mind that most dishwashers will use the same amount of water when half full as when full. Keep your compulsive side in check and run the dishwasher only when full, even if it takes a few days to load. In my experience, it still does a perfect job. Water savings: 45 gallons per week or 6.5 gallons per day.
Michele Hallahan, LEED AP and a double-science graduate of Trinity College Dublin, has worked in the environmental and sustainability sector for over 15 years both in the United States and in Europe. She is the president of Eco-Logic, an environmental and sustainability consultancy based in Austin, TX. Restoring polluted or neglected land and water is her life’s work. She co-wrote ‘Source—a Sustainable Guide to Holistic Living in Ireland’ and is an educator, trainer and public speaker at national and international events and conferences. In her spare time she chases rainbows and plays leap-frog with her chickens.
Editor: Seychelles Pitton