March 22 is World Water Day! That means we all have the opportunity to take a look at how we use water, and what we can do to care for this valuable resource.
The United States Geological Survey affirms that 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water. Of all the water on Earth, only 2.5 percent is fresh water. Of the 2.5 percent of the world’s fresh water, just over 31 percent is groundwater and surface water that is accessible to us; the rest is frozen as glaciers and ice caps.
Only 2.1 percent of all fresh water is surface water, which as USGS states, serves most of life’s needs.
The limited amount of fresh water is then split among the 7.6 billion people in the world. This leaves 2.1 billion people living without safe drinking water at home, according to worldwaterday.org. This also impacts the global economy as $260 billion is lost each year due to lack of basic water and sanitation, according to water.org.
Here in the Midwest, we are fortunate to have many rivers, accessible groundwater, and the Great Lakes that allow us to enjoy fresh water each day. It is our responsibility to use this water wisely and recognize the value of this rare resource.
For World Water Day, dedicate the day to putting your best foot forward toward water conservation … and then keep it up all year!
Here are some water saving tips for each area of your home:
In The Bathroom:
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. This saves 25 gallons per month!
- Install low-flow show heads and aerators on faucets.
- Take short showers, especially instead of baths.
- Fix that leak! Whether it is a leaky pipe, dripping faucet or “running” toilet, use World Water Day as a reason to tackle the project.
In The Laundry Room:
- Wash only full loads of laundry.
- Use the appropriate water level or load size setting on your washing machine.
- Use biodegradable or environmentally-friendly detergent.
- Set your washing machine to use cold water rather than hot or warm water. This saves both water and energy (and money!), and keeps the colors brighter.
In The Kitchen:
- When cooking, clean vegetables in a large bowl of water rather than with running water.
- For cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the fridge instead of running the tap until the water cools.
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the fridge. This is also a good practice for food safety!
- Run your dishwasher only when it is full. If you are washing dishes by hand, plug up the sink or use a wash basin.
- Recycle water used for boiling or left in coffee machines to water plants.
In Your Living Room:
- Water plants only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than under-watering.
On The Lawn:
- Water only when necessary. If you water your lawn and garden, only water when rainfall isn’t sufficient – Ideally, you only want one inch of water delivered each week. Also, water in the early morning or at dusk to minimize evaporation.
- Mow less and mow high. Longer grass shades the soil, improving moisture retention and helps grass survive droughts. This also helps grass out-compete weeds.
- Install a rain barrel to collect rainfall for irrigation, or install a rain garden to recharge the groundwater in your area. Learn about rain barrels and rain gardens from The Conservation Foundation at theconservationfoundation.org.
- Use a broom to clean walkways, driveways and decks, rather than hosing off the area.
Watch what goes down that storm drain! Bring household hazardous wastes to approved collection sites. If dumped in your back yard or down the storm drain, these wastes will end up in our streams and rivers. Learn more about keeping our waters clean from Clean Water for Kane.
Look for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense label. WaterSense is both a label for water-efficient products and a resource for helping you save water.
Last but not least, encourage others to conserve and protect our water! Share the link for this article; post water conservation tips in your school, at work, or for your family at home; and speak up when you see an opportunity to educate others.
Take a moment to think about your actions and how you use water. Every drop does indeed count when talking about our limited and most vital resource. And ultimately, when you save water, you save money on your utility bill as well.
Have a wonderful World Water Day appreciating our accessibility to clean water and minimizing your water use!
For more information about the water conservation programs in Kane County, please visit the Division of Environmental and Water Resources’ webpage.
SOURCE: Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources