The Lowdown On Water Conservation – Save The Planet And Save Money Too!

With population levels expected to increase exponentially over the next 50 years, water is one of our most precious natural resources. But when it’s quite literally on tap, it’s easy to slip into bad water usage habits which can result in significant and unnecessary wastage – not to mention astronomical utility bills. So if you’re looking for some great ideas to help conserve water, we’ve compiled our top 10 tips for saving water below.

Top 10 ways to conserve water
Take these 10 easy steps to reduce water consumption in your household:

• Turn off the faucet or tap. When you’re preparing vegetables, doing the dishes, shaving, washing your hands or brushing your teeth, be sure to turn the faucet off. Many of us have got into the habit of leaving water running when we’re doing basic household chores or taking care of our personal hygiene. Running water is really not necessary for most of these tasks. Reminding yourself to turn off the tap is a great way to save gallons of water.

• Check for leaks. Some water leaks can go undetected for months. So be sure to check the integrity of taps, pipes and radiators in your property. One easy way is to take a water meter reading in the morning – take off for the day, and then check your meter when you get home. If there’s been a change in the reading, you’ve probably got a leak! Find it and fix it.

• Water-saving toilets. Believe it or not, toilets can guzzle up to 30% of your household water supply every year! Toilets have come a long way, and many new models include a dual-flush function, which allows you to select a half or full flush, thereby saving more water than conventional WCs. If you have an older model, why not fill a bottle with sand and stones and place it in your toilet tank to displace water and reduce the flush and fill of your tank.

• Avoid baths, take shorter showers. It might be hard to give up your luxurious candle-lit bath. Showers are more efficient by a mile – you can rinse and switch off, lather up, and then switch on again to rinse…and you’re done. Half the water, half the time!

• Change your shower head. Some shower heads can release up to 80 gallons of water per minute, depending on the design. So, measure your shower output and if you’re surprised by the results, you can easily purchase a low-flow showerhead for between $10 to $100.

• Invest in pipe insulation. Insulating your water pipes helps to deliver hot water fast, and keeps your water hot – especially in the morning, when the shower is in demand! Pipe insulation is widely available, cheap and easy to install.

• Stay cool. Keep a jug or bottle of cold water in the fridge. This will help you avoid running the tap until the water runs cold.

• Full loads only. When you’re using the washing machine or dishwasher, always aim for full loads. Most machines now have options for half-loads or economy cycles that will use less water – but where possible, avoid switching your machine on until it’s completely full.

• No butts. Purchase a water butt to collect rain water from your garden. You can use the water you collect to feed your lawn and flowers, as well as cleaning the patio or washing the car.

• Be water aware. Small changes in water usage and consumption can make a huge difference to your pocket – and the planet. Share your water tips with others and encourage them to join you in conserving one of our most important natural resources.

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New Beauty Brand Reminds You To Save Water

Stop The Water

There are a lot of great eco-friendly brands around these days so standing out from the crowd is getting harder and harder but one German company has avoided the usual brand name and gone with a message instead: Stop The Water While Using Me.

While the website isn’t quite finished, Stop The Water sells three different items: shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste. The big message on the front doesn’t leave you with any question of what you should do while using it – stop running the water.

As well as the organic and natural ingredients it’s packaged in biodegradable containers, something which is often missing from environmentally friendly beauty products.

You can find out more about Stop The Water and where to buy its products on its website.

The Green Blue Book – Eco Book Review

The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life is written by one of the authors of The Green Book, but this time it focuses specifically on saving water.

The Green Blue Book

I recently reviewed Water by Steven Solomon and the battle over water seems to be brewing more and more these days. This book is less about the causes and reasons for it, but more what we can do about it, chiefly by saving water.

The first section takes you through the water that you can see, so the water you use in your home in daily life. So shorter showers, turning off the tap while cleaning your teeth and/or shaving. The water you use in the garden, or at work or while on vacation. Simple tips of what you can do and how much it will save.

Section two moves on moves on to invisible water usage, the water that you can’t see being used. This mainly involves the water used in the production of food, clothes, furnishings, pets, and anything you buy or consume on a daily basis. It’s very interesting to read about the amounts of water that go into your kitchen granite countertop or how much water is used growing and transporting that one pear to you (7.8 gallons apparently). There are usually brief tips about how to reduce this (buy locally and in-season produce or use a roll-on rather than spray deodorant for example).

Finally it goes through how to calculate your water footprint with some simple mathematics. Reducing the water you use is not only good for the environment but also for your wallet. My water bill went up 25% last year for the same amount of water. The book finishes off with a huge (over 50 pages) list of resources and references, with some URLs so long you have no hope of typing them in correctly. Using a url shortening service would have be a smart idea here. There’s also a quick handy reference guide at the back and an index as you would expect.

Overall the book is very interesting. Some of the tips are a little obvious (at least to me) but most are easy to implement and make perfect sense. Broken into easy to read paragraphs and with the quick reference guide it’s easy to keep around and see how simple it is to start saving water.

Buy it now for around $11.55 from Amazon.

Drink Wine, Donate Water

Online wine vendor CellarThief donates 100 days’ worth of clean water for every bottle of wine it sells.

From the site “Almost 1 billion people on the planet don’t have clean drinking water – that’s 1 in 8 people. Not having clean drinking water leads to terrible illness and death – in fact 42,000 people die every week from a lack of clean, safe water with 90% of those deaths being children 5 years old or younger. If you help us sell this wine out, the Bounty is awarded! We’ll tag on another 50 days of clean water for every bottle of wine sold! That totals 5 months of clean water per bottle of wine – that can make a difference!”

A great idea, if you’re buying wine anyway, and it’s the same price as somewhere that donates water, then why not buy from them? Shipping for 3 or more bottles is $5.

[Via: Springwise]

Water by Steven Solomon Book Review

Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon is a weighty tome at 500 pages plus photographs and notes but covers a heck of a lot.

Not having time to read it all I dipped in and out of it’s chapters and found it fascinating. With freshwater use growing twice as fast as population growth, water is rapidly going to replace oil as the world’s most valuable resource (if it hasn’t already) and there is going to be bigger battles between those who have access to it and those who do not.

Water famine could outstrip famine and religion as the cause of wars and the scenario played out in the book is pretty bleak indeed. Researched in great detail, Solomon shows enormous understanding of the issues and gives us the history of water’s role in shaping of the world as we know it today. Interspersed with maps and a set of photos, the understanding of the past is critical to understanding the present situation. Egyptian, Roman, Islamic and Chinese sea and water power are explained; the building of the great canals; “The Sanitary Awakening” that lead to a massive clean up of the way water was treated; and much more.

With humans requiring two to three quarts (~2 liters) of fresh water a day to stay alive, population projections for 2050 to be in excess of 9 billion, and only 2.5% of water on earth being freshwater, the challenges are enormous.

If you’re interested in the issues surrounding water in the 21st century and how the issues came to be, I don’t think there is another single book that encompasses all the issues in such great depth and detail.

You can buy it from Amazon for around $18.50. Now I just need to finish it!

Kate Humble Backs New Water Saving Campaign

Alasdair from Big Green Smile has written a post about Springwatch favourite Kate Humble bfronting, or indeed backing, a new water saving campaign:

“BBC television wildlife presenter Kate Humble has joined the campaign to educate Britons about the importance of water saving measures.

Figures published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that the average Briton uses 150 litres of water every day, compared to the 127 litres used by the average German.

It is estimated the water treatment process and the use of hot water creates 35 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year in the UK.

Ms Humble is now trying to get the message across that straightforward water saving measures can save money and help the battle against climate change.

“Simple changes can really add up to a better environment – meaning more water for the wildlife and countryside around us as well as saving on carbon emissions,” she said.

Among the water saving measures recommended by Defra are turning the tap off while brushing your teeth and using a watering can instead of a hosepipe when watering the garden.

Waterwise recently launched a campaign to persuade people to spend less time in the shower, pointing out that an electric shower uses around six litres of water a minute.

Heart Of Dryness Book Review

Heart of Dryness is by James G Workman and is subtitled “How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought”

hod_post

I’ll admit I haven’t finished the book yet but I’m really enjoying it. An award winning journalist and one of Bill Clinton’s speech writers, Workman really knows how to write and bring home the relevance of the Kalahari Bushmen to our own backyard. The Colorado River dam has always interested me and hearing the river will be dry in 13 years is pretty shocking. The way water is used as a weapon by governments, the way it is rationed and provided to those who can pay the most, not those who need it the most, is equally disturbing and intriguing.

Neatly divided up into 8 parts, the book is a journey and a guide, well researched (there are 35 pages of notes at the end before you even get to the Bibliography or index) I’m looking forward to the rest of it. Anyone interested in the environment, water and/or different cultures will find this interesting reading indeed.

You can watch an interview with James below, and you can buy the book from Amazon for around $17 (hardcover).