12 Ways to Conserve Water on World Water Day
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12 Ways to Conserve Water on World Water Day

In 1992, the United Nations founded World Water Day as an opportunity for people around the world to learn about water-related issues.

663 million people are without access to clean and safe water. That’s one in ten people in the world, and twice the population of the United States! In addition, one in three people worldwide, (2.4 billion people!) are without access to toilets. Pretty crazy, right? Toilets aren’t always something we associate with water, but without running water the modern flush toilet doesn’t work!

There are a lot of water-related issues, definitely more than you can learn in just one day, but today is a great day to start understanding why water is so important and get inspired to make some small changes everyday that can help conserve clean water around the world.

While 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, less than 1% of Earth’s water is freshwater and is used for everything we actually use water for, including farming, residential use (like showering, doing laundry, and washing dishes), manufacturing (think: the jeans you’re wearing), and more!

Because of this, we need to use our 1% of water wisely. Here are some ways you can make minor changes to your everyday life that will help conserve our Earth’s water in a huge way.

In the kitchen

  • When you wash dishes by hand, let them soak first to save time when the water is running, although running a completely full, newer dishwasher uses the least amount of water (it could save up to a thousand gallons of water).
  • Collect the runoff water when washing fruits and veggies to use for watering plants, or make a soup broth from the water leftover from steamed or cooked foods.
  • When you accidentally drop ice cubes (yep, we all do it), put them in your plants instead of tossing them in the sink.
  • If your city has the option, start composting food instead of running the garbage disposal.
  • Cut down on using extra cups and glasses by carrying a reusable water bottle or coffee cup. Some places, including Starbucks, will give you discounts by bringing in your own container!

In the bathroom

  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth or are scrubbing your hands with soap — you’ll save 4 gallons of water per minute!
  • We know it might seem impossible, but keeping your showers to under 5 minutes will save up to a thousand gallons of water each month. If that’s too difficult (we feel you), cutting your shower down a minute or two will save about 150 gallons a month.
  • Choose a shower over a bath, as a tub full of water will use about 70 gallons of water.
  • If you’re feeling really ambitious, turn the water off during the “lather” part of “lather, rinse, and repeat” of your shampoo routine.

Around the house

  • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both water and energy — and it’ll save those black pants from fading to gray.
  • Give your dog (and other household pets) baths in the parts of the lawn that are looking a little brown and could use the runoff water.
  • Reuse towels as much as possible! Whether it’s at your house or in a hotel, you’ll save water and energy every time you reuse your towels.

Anything else we’re missing? Share some other ways you consciously conserve water in your every day life!

About the Author

Scott Ingram

Scott is the Director of Admissions at Rustic Pathways. He has spent the last 15 years in the student travel and experiential education world. Before helping families find the perfect Rustic Pathways program, he led gap year programs that took students around the world and spent three years teaching English in Japan.