In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, the author describes a man lost at sea surrounded by water, none of which he is able to drink. This text illustrates one on the major challenges facing the world today. The ability to effectively manage our water resources is essential for personal and global sustainability.
While water is not a new issue, rapidly increasing eco awareness may be expanding individual participation in management options. Clean, fresh water is no longer just an issue for developing countries. It has become more and more of a global issue. Water is linked to every facet of life on our planet and directly interacts with a myriad of other sustainability concepts. Governments, businesses, and individuals around the world are recognizing the relationships of water to their own sustainability.
Providing abundant clean water is going to take efforts from all angles, and individual water cycle management is a big part. How can you conserve water?
- Wash Hands Efficiently: Turn off the water while you soap your hands, and rinse briefly.
- Brush Teeth Wisely: Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 4 gallons a minute. That’s 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
- Use Less Water for Dishes: Scrape your dishes clean to reduce rinsing. Run the dishwasher only when it’s full.
- Take Hall Full Baths: Try bathing in a tub that’s only half full to save water and the energy used to heat it.
- Shorten Your Showers: Shorter showers save both energy and water—keeping your shower under 5 minutes can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Stop Leaks: turn off water faucets tightly so they don’t drip and repair leaks.
- Wash Clothes Wisely: Make sure your clothes are truly dirty before putting them into the hamper. Wash clothes only when you have a full load, and use cold water whenever possible.
- Water Wisely: Water the lawn only every 3 to 5 days in the summer and avoid watering driveways, sidewalks, and gutters.
Managing the water leaving your home is just as important as managing the water that comes into it. In choosing to live a green lifestyle, there are tools and resources available to help you become more informed and to implement sustainability concepts that meet your defined requirements.