In a world that is so negligent towards finite resources, not many people are willing to go out of their way to conserve a resource that they see as infinite. Still, some people go out of their way to collect and conserve water.
Here’s a brief guide to practical water conservation to help you understand why this is important, how this is done, and what you can do with this water afterward.
- Why is conserving water important?
The first question we need to get out of the way is the importance of conserving water. In the introduction, we’ve mentioned that people see water as an infinite resource. This is mostly due to the fact that in the majority of the world (first world and even the majority of developing countries), the issue of water supply has been solved.
However, the idea that we’ll never run out of clean water is a myth. Sure, the circling of water in nature is a thing; however, the process is quite slow, and with the increasing population and water use in the world, it might no longer be enough. That’s right, we live in a different world than our ancestors, so we must start teaching about water conservation even earlier in the curriculum.
The main reasons why conserving water is so important are:
- Environmental sustainability
- Mitigating climate change
- Securing food production
- Long-term human society resilience
Aside from this, everyone has one or two personal reasons to increase their water use efficiency. Some people are genuinely concerned about the nature. Others want to stay off the grid and reduce their reliance on all systems (even public water supply systems) by becoming more self-reliant. Then, some just want to see their water bill go down. All three of these reasons are more than valid.
- What forms of water conservation are out there?
The most popular form is definitely rainwater harvesting. All you need to do is set up the right infrastructure on a roof and other surfaces on your property and store the water collected in barrels or tanks.
Then, there’s greywater recycling. Sure, water used in washing dishes, doing laundry, and bathing yourself cannot be used for consumption, but what’s wrong with using it for toilet flushing or watering your vegetable garden?
On a major scale, some institutions are treating wastewater in order to make it reusable for more functions. This water recycling is incredibly complex but also has the capacity to transform huge capacities of water and make them usable, where they would only be good for disposal beforehand.
We must also mention the importance of early leak detection and repair in plumbing of any kind. A water leak is a huge waste. It’s not using water improperly – it’s losing it while not using it at all. This is something you need to find a way to handle as soon as possible, so always be on the lookout. This is especially dangerous in winter. So, when you finish with the interior winter decoration, make sure that all your exterior pipes are winterized properly.
- Where can you use this conserved water?
The water that we drink is harvested from clean natural springs and then additionally purified to make it safe for human consumption. While they often get a lot of bad reputation, the majority of companies selling bottled water really put a lot of effort into ensuring that this is as safe as possible.
So, what can you actually use this conserved water for?
- Landscaping and irrigation: This is a big one since it’s the most efficient form of water recycling. You can use this water for your lawn and landscaping. The best part is that these activities are quite water-hungry. If you add Wi-Fi-controlled smart sprinklers, you can drastically cut the amount of water you spend here.
- Agriculture: When it comes to irrigation, especially drip irrigation, with enough water collecting and conserving capacities, you stand to save quite a bit of water. This will save you money and reduce your environmental impact.
- Car washing: Out of all the things that you do in your home, this one wastes the most water by far. So, by switching to “greener” water, you’ll make quite a difference.
- Toilet water: Just think about the logic behind wasting clean water on toilet activities. Now, add to this the fact that your toilet is responsible for about a quarter of all water use in your household.
The list goes on and on…
- Adopting a water-saving household routine
Sure, this harvested and conserved water will probably not make up for your household’s entire water need. Unless you have the purification technology, it’s questionable how much of a percentage of your water use needs you can replace with these “green” water practices. Well, you get what you get, but if you find a way to reduce your water use, the percentage will grow larger.
After all, 10l out of 100l are 10%, while 10l out of 20l are 50%.
There are three ways to improve your water-saving efforts.
- Introduce a water-saving household routine: Adopting water-conscious daily habits is hard at first, but if you really focus and make an effort, once you adopt them, you won’t give them much thought. You’ll just automatically be more efficient. Every family member must be on board.
- Switch to low-flow water fixtures: The biggest water-waster in your household is your toilet. By replacing it, you can save so much water. The same goes for your shower and virtually every other water fixture in your home.
- Adopt a smart water management system: This is the simplest way to make your water saving more systematic and autonomous. By programming how much water you’ll spend on each task and following your water-use statistics, you’ll already make a world of difference.
Ultimately, this is great advice, even without going out of your way to conserve water. It will make your home a bit greener and lower your water bill.
Today, we live in an era where water is still abundant and available (although, sadly, not all over the globe), but this won’t always be the case. By learning about water conservation and trying to join this struggle, you can be on the right side of history. Even better, you get to be personally rewarded and incentivized for this ethical behavior.