Today is World Water Day, an annual celebration that aims to raise awareness about water use, water scarcity, and safe drinking water. With the rising concern in the United States concerning lead pipes and safety drinking water (think Flint and other community water systems), this year's Water Day takes on special significance.
If you are concerned about the quality of your drinking water, Hiller technicians have the knowledge and tools necessary to test your water supply and install water treatment and purification systems.
The Flint water crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. While people tend not to think about water problems unless it directly affects them, there is ample cause for concern around the world.
Here are just some water safety statistics (from water.org) that might make you think twice about the water you take for granted every day:
- 663 million people - 1 in 10 - lack access to safe water.
- 2.4 billion people - 1 in 3 - lack access to a toilet.
- Twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water.
- 1/3 of the global population lives without access to a toilet.
- More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.
- A review of rural water system sustainability in eight countries in Africa, South Asia, and Central America found an average water project failure rate of 20 - 40 percent.
- Globally, 1/3 of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
- In low and middle-income countries, 1/3 of all healthcare facilities lack a safe water source.
Although there isn't a lot you can do to solve the world's water problem, a great way to celebrate World Water Day is to decrease your own water usage at home and consider donating to a clean water charity.
Just think: the average American uses over 100 gallons of water every day and uses more water taking one 5-minute shower than an average person in the slums of a developing country uses in a whole day (NPR).
Easy Ways to Save Water at Home
In the Kitchen:
- Washing dishes in the dishwasher typically uses less water than washing by hand. Consider switching to energy-efficient models that use even less water and don't require pre-washing or rinsing. If you do wash dishes by hand, use a basin of water to soak your dishes.
- Consider purchasing a tankless water heater so that you don't have to waste water waiting for the hot water to come on. Tankless water heaters last longer, take up less space, never run out of hot water, and save on energy costs as well.
- Cook food in the appropriately sized containers. Use the least amount of water as possible when cooking - it also helps retain the nutrients.
- Don't use water to defrost your food. Either think ahead and place your frozen items in the refrigerator the day before or use your microwave settings.
- Don't throw ice cubes in the sink - use leftover ice cubes to water your plants. If you are rinsing fruits and vegetables, catch the excess water in a basin and use to water your plants.
In the Bathroom:
- Take shorter showers. Consider taking a navy shower by turning the water off while you lather and wash your hair. Try to time your showers. If it takes you longer than 5 minutes to get everything done, you're probably taking too long. 1 minute of showering uses about 3 gallons of water and costs about a cent. This adds up!
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators on all of your faucets. Low-flow faucets and showerheads can cut your water bill by up to 40%.
- Consider installing low-flow toilets or dual-flush toilets. For liquid waste, half the amount of water is used.
- Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or washing your face. This can save up to 4 gallons a minute.
- Consider using a bucket to catch the bath water while you wait for it to heat up. You can use this water for your plants.
Test for Leaks!
Learn how to locate and read your main water valve. Most water meters have a leak detection dial that tells you if you have a plumbing leak somewhere in the home. Learn how to read your water meter here.
One of the most common and costly plumbing leaks are running toilets. A single leaky toilet can waste over 200 gallons of water every single day, amounting to over 6,000 gallons a month! Over the course of a year, that's enough to fill multiple swimming pools.
An easy way to test for a toilet leak is to place about 5 drops of food dye into your toilet tank - wait 20 minutes or so and check if any of the food coloring appears in the toilet bowl. If you see the food dye in your toilet bowl, you have a leak between your tank and the bowl. This test should be done at least once a year.
Toilets use a lot of water. Seriously consider upgrading your toilet to a more efficient model. Older toilets use as much as 7 gallons per flush! Newer toilets only use about 1.5 gallons per flush.
This is the typical water breakdown in an American home:
Watch this video to learn how to fix your leaking toilet:
For more water conservation tips, follow the tips provided by wateruseitwisely.com.
Read our other blog articles for more ways to save water and energy:
The water we have on Earth is in finite supply. What we have is what we get (until we start mining celestial bodies for resources). Until then, the best solution is to reduce the amount of water we use on an individual and collective basis. Politics aside, it's important that we all do our part to reduce water and energy waste.