Water Conservation and What YOU Can Do To Save Water
Water shortages are not a rarity around much of the United States, and this is especially true for many of the Southwestern states. So it shouldn’t be surprising that some of them have adopted awareness campaigns entrenched in conservation efforts. April of each year is dedicated to water awareness across the state of Arizona and May is Water Awareness Month in California.
Since Root Quencher’s inception is owed to the search to find a solution for bringing enough water to the roots of fruit trees in California without wasting water or resulting in extreme water bills, we thought we’d stick with the California timeline to raise specific awareness to water conservation.
What is Water Conservation?
Water conservation is, in short, the practice of conserving water by using it efficiently. Just as we work to manage other resources through reducing, reusing, and recycling to address environmental awareness, we can make small changes to our water usage habits to reduce negative impacts.
Why is Water Conservation Important?
Early in elementary school, you probably learned about the water cycle—that water is neither created nor destroyed but moves and changes forms, cycling from the cloud, to the earth and back again. This might have you wondering, “If water is an inexhaustible resource, why is water conservation so important?”.
That is definitely worth considering. Water is an inexhaustible resource and that’s not quite the problem. It’s the availability of clean freshwater (or lack thereof) for humans and the disruption of plant and animal habitats that is generating concern.
Water is used in the production of just about everything and once used, it is often expelled in less-pure conditions. Oftentimes, the water is then transported in some way, back through the ground and into the world’s rivers, lakes, and oceans. Furthermore, habitats are often disrupted for the obtainment of more water.
Through water conservation efforts, we are able to help sustain a healthy water supply and decrease the negative impact on the planet as a whole.
What is the goal of water conservation?
There are several goals of water conservation and they might vary between different people. For some, it might be that they simply want to bring their monthly water bill down. For others, it might be morally fueled—like reducing their carbon footprint, ensuring the availability of water to others, and maintaining healthy habitats for many varieties of flora and fauna.
Regardless of the reasoning, they all go hand-in-hand. The person making changes to reduce their water bill is still having a positive impact on the environment and those making changes to save the planet are likely saving money on their water bill.
Methods of Water Conservation:
When it comes to water conservation, it’s not just about using less. There are many methods of reducing, reclaiming, replenishing, and reusing water (and every effort can have massive payoffs). Let’s see what you can do to help conserve our planet’s water supply.
Save water while doing dishes.
Think about how much water you are using every time you do the dishes. For many people, it can be several gallons. First, they spray the food off of the plates, then they give them a pre-wash under running water before loading them into the dishwasher, which can use 3-15 gallons every time it runs through a cycle (depending on size and model).
Washing by hand using a small tub of soap and water and only turning the faucet on for rinsing can help, but if you want to continue using the dishwasher for whatever reason, you can still save water by doing the following:
First, scrape all of your dishes really well prior to spraying them off. Next, use a small bowl or tub and a sponge to get the remaining gunk off instead of spraying them off. Fill a shallow tub with a small amount of rinse water instead of turning the tap on every time you need to rinse. Finally, only run your dishwasher when you have a full load.
Save water during your hygiene routine.
Hygiene is important, there’s no doubt about that, but you can still use less water while tending to your hygiene routine. Take shorter showers and/or get water efficient spray heads, turn the tap off when brushing your teeth or washing your face or hands, and fill the bath just a few inches less when bathing children.
When you are washing fruits and vegetables, keep a tub underneath that you can catch the water in. That water can be reused to water your plants!
Want to make an even bigger impact? Employ a grey water system on your property. Grey water is water that has been used and may look dirty but can be used for irrigation purposes without harming plants or animals. It essentially redirects grey water (water from rinse cycles of laundry and dish cycles, showers, sinks, and so on) so that it infiltrates the water into the ground, where it can help sustain your yard’s irrigation needs
Harvesting rainwater can be as simple as placing barrels under your rain gutters to more high-tech solutions with filtration devices. Depending on where you are located, there might even be governmental incentives for harvesting and storing rainwater. Check out this discussion on water harvesting technology.
Water plants in the evening, after the sun has set.
Watering outdoor plants and lawns in the evening, rather than the morning can help prevent some water waste through evaporation because the water will have more time to absorb into the earth.
Water plants from under the earth’s surface.
Watering in the evening can help prevent some water loss through evaporation but it will not ameliorate the problem altogether. This is because the surface will remain damp and once the sun hits it, the water will begin to evaporate quickly and the problem of runoff still remains entirely.
Watering plants from under the surface is a great way to fully avoid water waste due to run-off and evaporation because it gives the plants the water exactly where they need it—the roots. Bonus: watering under the surface can make your plants more drought-tolerant because the roots will stretch deeper for the water instead of staying situated near the surface for above-ground water gratification. Check out this full line of easy-install subsurface watering devices for watering from below the earth’s surface.
Landscape your property with native plants.
Choosing plants that are native to your area is not only beneficial for other native plants and wildlife in your area, but it can help conserve water. Because native plants have specifically adapted to your climate and soil conditions, they will likely require less added (outside of natural weather conditions) water to thrive.
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