How Humans Can Conserve Water on a Daily Basis
While most of the Earth’s surface consists of water, only a very small percentage is fresh water and suitable for drinking. This has made water conservation an important environmental concern, especially in regions that are naturally dry and hot. Whether you live in the desert or in a more temperate region, reducing your water consumption and waste is an effective way to reduce your impact on the environment.
Landscaping and Agriculture
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost a third of all outdoor water use goes toward watering lawns. You can get the most out of the water you use on your lawn by avoiding watering during the hottest part of the day, when evaporation can remove much of the moisture before the grass has a chance to drink it up. You can also use xeriscaping, which focuses on plants geared toward surviving in your particular climate and grouping similar species together, to avoid overwatering and waste. The same techniques can save water in large-scale irrigation operations, carefully matching water needs to flow rates to minimize loss.
Modern industry uses large amounts of water, with most of it going to cool heavy machinery or to condense gases in chemical engineering projects. In many cases, after a single trip through the cooling cycle, the plant discharges this water into the environment. If facilities recycle the water instead, sending it to holding tanks to allow it to cool before reuse, they can significantly reduce their overall water consumption.
You can save water in your own home, simply by modifying certain behaviors. If you brush your teeth for two minutes with the water running, you send 5 gallons of clean, drinkable water down the drain. Old-style toilets can consume up to 5 gallons of water per flush, but you can reduce this amount by placing water-filled jugs in the tank to displace some of this water. The EPA reports that you can save 10 to 20 gallons of water per day by running your dishwasher only when it is completely full.
One way to reduce water wastage in your household is by installing low-flow fixtures. A study by the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, revealed that an average three-person household could save as much as 54,000 gallons of water annually by switching to low-flow fixtures. You can also reduce your home’s water pressure using special valves, which can cut water consumption by a third and reduce the likelihood of leaking pipes and damaged fixtures due to overpressure.