Summer Water Love

Whenever I think of the upcoming season of Summer, my mind automatically goes to “WATER”.  Glorious water.  I associate all of my best summer memories with being in, on, or around the water – lakes and river rafting where I grew up, the ocean where I live now.   There is something magical about both summer and water together.   Immersing head to toe in an inviting body of cool, clear water while a the heat of a lazy summer day shimmers all around, is simply, soul restoring.

At the same time we all tend to gravitate toward our favorite body of summer water, let’s not forget that water is our most precious natural resource.  Its cleanliness and preservation is one of our era’s most important issues.  Conservation on the part of every individual, no matter what level of current water abundance you enjoy, is mandatory.  For as they say:  “It all flows downstream”.

Here are the top 10 easiest ways to make water conservation a daily part of your life as an Earth steward:

  1. No drips Adripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water a day. A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in a month. Get out the wrench and change the washers on your sinks and showers, or get new washerless faucets.
  2. Install new fixtures New, low-volume or dual flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, water-efficient dishwashers and clothes washing machines can all save a great deal of water and money. Aerators on your faucets as well as water-saving showerheads can significantly reduce water volume.  Together, these changes can nearly cut in half a household’s daily use (typically about 260 gallons per day), saving a considerable amount of water – and passing that savings on to your water bill, as well as your water heating bill.
  3. Cultivate good water habits All the water that goes down the drain, clean or dirty, ends up mixing with raw sewage, getting contaminated, and meeting the same fate. Try to stay aware of this precious resource disappearing and turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving and always wash laundry and dishes with full loads. When washing dishes by hand, fill up the sink and turn off the water. Encourage all family members to take shorter showers.
  4. Stay off the bottle By many measures, bottled water is a scam. Not only is it more expensive per gallon than gasoline, bottled water incurs a huge carbon footprint from its transportation.  If you want to carry your water with you, get a re-usable bottle and fill it from a filtered water pitcher.
  5. Go beyond the lawn Naturalize it using locally appropriate plants that are hardy and don’t need a lot of water. If you have to water, do it during the coolest part of the day or at night to minimize evaporation.
  6. Harvest your rainwater Put a rain barrel on your downspouts and use this water for irrigation. Rain cisterns come in all shapes and sizes ranging from larger underground systems to smaller, freestanding ones. Some even glow!
  7. Harvest your used household water Try simple practices such as tossing the pot of pasta water onto your flower beds and emptying the fish tank in the garden, instead of throwing either down the sink.  Bottom line, see how many ways you can avoid putting water down the drain when you can use it for something else.
  8. At the car wash Car washes are often more efficient than home washing and treat their water rather than letting it straight into the sewer system. But check to make sure that they clean and recycle the water. Better yet, try the waterless car wash.
  9. Keep your eyes open Report broken pipes, open hydrants, and excessive waste. Don’t be shy about pointing out leaks to your friends and family members, either. They might have tuned out the dripping sound a long time ago.
  10. Don’t spike the punch Water sources have to be protected. Don’t pour chemicals down drains, or flush prescription drugs down toilets; it could come back in diluted form in your water.

Enjoy your time in the water this summer!