In any room of the house, you can turn a faucet and the water pours out. At any corner or major grocery store, you can walk in and purchase a number of different brands of bottled water. Living in America, it is easy to abuse our privilege and power of having clean and accessible water.
We are running out of water.
If you live in the Southwest, you are well aware that America is on the verge of a major water crisis. If you read or listen to the news, you may have an inkling that trouble is on the horizon, hearing stories of constant wildfires, the Colorado River being at all time lows, and towns in California literally running dry. However if you haven’t heard about these stories, let this be your entry point to a very real and serious issue.
We are running out of water.
Literally running out of a resource that we can not replenish in time at the rate in which we consume it. A precious and life giving resource, in our cultural excess we are misusing this privilege. I have recently been becoming more conscious of my use (and waste) and am working towards correcting my choices. I believe it is a human responsibility to do our part in preserving this asset for our future. To be held accountable to the generations that come after us in the way we take care of the earth and pass it on.
We are running out of water.
Here at Gatherhaus we want to provide you with solid information, but not weigh you down with a lengthy and extensive article. So we are going to include a few links for you to check out at your leisure about the Ogallala Aquifer, which is under the great plains and is on track of drying up. There are also more articles about the crisis here and here.
A less dire informative resource, that is great to watch with your kids on the History Channel online, is “How the states got their shapes” Ep. 1 addresses the drought in in the southwest.
Now what? What can we do for our part in stopping the cycle of ravishing and destroying this resource? Here are a few tips and tricks to begin with! Start with one, make it a habit, and then start including another one. Every little bit helps. Every gallon saved makes a difference.
Use a Rain barrel to collect free rain water in your yard to water your vegetable and/or flowers! (A simple google search will reveal a variety of options and also instructions in how to build your own.) I have had mine for a year now and it is simply the best! I haven’t had to turn my hose on to water my vegetable garden all summer!
Have pasta water? Empty your pot by watering houseplants or outdoor plants when you can instead of draining it!
Do not use water to clean your sidewalks. It is just a total and complete waste.
Use reusable water bottles. Do not buy plastic. The plastic water bottles waste more water to make and are not environmentally friendly. For every liter of water in a bottle, it takes two liters to MAKE that bottle.
Try a limit on shower time. Some families I know use a timer, or you can use a method that I personally use by giving your kids and yourself a two song limit. When those two songs are up, you have to be done. (This harder…in the winter when you live up north like we do and it’s so cold outside and your shower is deliciously warm. Work up to it, you can do it!)
Want to go hard core? Issue military showers. Turn the water on and then off when you soap and only turn the water back on when you are ready to rinse!
One of the easiest water saving tips is to turn the water off when you brush your teeth. It’s easy to leave the faucet on when brushing your teeth, but all that water is just running down the drain and draining your pocket of cash. Turn the water off! Save water and your budget. Use a cup to rinse or turn the faucet on just when rinsing the toothbrush. (Please teach this to your children as they learn habits in becoming adults who will also save or waste water this way.)
Washing dishes by hand? Just like our brushing teeth issue, don’t allow the water to run while washing the dish. It isn’t rinsing anything, just running down the drain and being wasted. Even better, plug up your sink. Wash in soapy water and only drizzle clean water to rinse. You will end up saving gallons of water this way!
MOST IMPORTANT: Please DO NOT, read again, DO NOT water your yard, garden or grass during the middle of the day. The water evaporates in the heat and doesn’t do any good. That means, you are going to see your lawn or garden responds poorly so you will water more. If you have a sprinkler system, set it for evening when the sun is setting. Watering lawns and gardens at night gives their root system almost a dozen hours to soak up the water and strengthen the plant. This also means you don’t have to water as much. It’s a win win. Or, don’t water your lawn at all. Lawns waste so much water, and is only a recent addition to the home, plant a drought resistant garden, low maintenance prairie grass, or a bee and butterfly friendly garden instead.
High end investment: If you have the money, or if you can save for it, purchasing Energy efficient washers and dryers and dishwashers is another great way to save our scarce water resource. It is important to look at all means in doing our part.
Deep commitment investment: Build a rain garden which helps replenish the groundwater and purifies right there in your own yard. More groundwater keeps the earth healthier. If you are building new construction, look into specialty pavers that let the water escape to the earth instead of going down into the sewer system.
The last, but not least important way is to talk about this issue. The more changes we make, the more we talk about it and encourage others to do their part, the greater impact we can make.
Let’s be people who uses what we have. A people conscious of their choices. A human race who cares for the earth that houses and takes care of us. Join us in our effort to be environmentally responsible by starting with these easy steps.
Do you have a way that you conserve water? We would love to hear about it! Share it in our comment section.