By Paula Damon
Don’t read this if you brush your teeth in the shower and don’t let the water run until it’s cold or hot enough. Stop here if you’re recycling water in half-empty water bottles, coolers of melted ice and when it rains.
For all of you who have not begun to even occasionally conserve water, may I have attention, please?
Some years ago, when my husband and I were in the Canadian Rockies on our way from Banff to Jasper, Alberta, we stopped at the Athabasca Glacier. This glacier is part of the Columbia Ice Field, once a huge mass of ice that covered most of Western Canada’s mountains.
However, it has receded almost a mile and has lost more than half of its volume. Today, the melting ice gushes constantly from this glacier, forming a rapidly flowing river – a startling reality for us to witness first-hand.
That’s not all. Scientists say the planet’s glaciers are at the lowest levels in thousands of years. Glacier melting is considered one the worst threats to the world’s water supply because it increases the risk of sudden avalanches of rocks and soil, threatening billions of people around the world who depend on melt water from glaciers to survive.
On a larger scale, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization recommends “integrated water resources management, such as water harvesting, use of non-conventional water, modernization of irrigation systems, on-farm water management, water-quality management, agriculture-wetlands interactions and drought-impact mitigation,” among other water conservation efforts.
But there are little acts of conservation we all can do to protect this precious natural
Each person taking one or more of these easy money-saving and water-conserving measures could save hundreds of gallons each month…
Turn off water when you’re brushing teeth and washing your hair. Take shorter showers. And while you’re in the shower, why not brush your teeth and catch water in a bucket and reuse it to flush the toilet and water your plants.
For baths, plug the tub first, and then fill it. Bathe toddlers together. Fix leaking toilets and replace older toilets with water-efficient models.
In the kitchen, don’t let the water run when thawing food and washing fruits, vegetables and dishes. That vitamin-rich water you used to cook vegetables? Reuse it in soup. Compost fruit and vegetable food waste, instead of running the garbage disposal. Daily designate only one glass or bottle for drinking water.
When you’re rinsing fruits and vegetables, cleaning out fish tanks, emptying dehumidifiers and emptying pools, recycle all of that water on the garden.
Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water. Set cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum refills. Turn off faucets tightly and teach the children and grandchildren to do the same.
Speaking of kids, when they want to run under the sprinkler, set it up where the lawn needs watering. While you’re outside, adjust lawn mowers to a higher setting – taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better. Water lawns, gardens in the morning or evening. Plant perennials in the fall when less watering is needed. Spread a layer of organic mulch around outdoor plants to retain moisture.
Aerate the lawn annually so water can reach the roots, instead of running off. Adjust sprinklers to avoid watering the house, sidewalk or street. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalk and siding.
When washing the car, use a hose nozzle with a turn-off lever or commercial car washes that recycle water.
Suggest ways your employer can save water at work. Support projects that use reclaimed waste water for irrigation and industrial uses.
Encourage your schools and local government to develop and promote water conservation. While staying in a hotel or even at home, reuse towels. Look for the EPA Water Sense Label for products certified in water conservation.
Last but not least, please share these water-saving tips with family, friends, neighbors and strangers.
I thank you kindly and so will future generations.