Guest Post: Beat the Drought by Conserving Fresh Water

Writer Grady Winston calls attention to the increasingly important issue of conserving water. – GM

In December 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that Lake Mead – the main water source for Las Vegas – could lose about 13 feet of depth by early 2013. Dry winters have a negative impact on the man-made reservoir, which is comprised mostly of water that began as snowfall in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

This year, town leaders in Viborg, S.D., issued a water-use restriction, after the town of 800 people came dangerously close to running out of water.
Water shortages in the news and wildfires caused by drought are causing more people to think about water conservation. Especially for those who use a well instead of city water supplies, groundwater depletion and the effects of serious water shortages can be dire, for the environment and people alike. While no one can control the weather, everyone has the ability to reduce the strain on local water supplies by making a few changes at home.

Practical Ways to Conserve Water

People use the largest amount of water in the bathroom. Toilets and showers account for 49 percent of water usage in the average home, so conservation efforts should start in the bathroom. Limiting the amount of time spent in the shower is one way to conserve water. Devices that save water should be installed on both shower heads and faucets. By using a low-flow shower head, a person will use as much as 30 percent less water in the shower. People should avoid using the toilet to flush things like facial tissue and other items that can easily be tossed in the trash. Switching to a toilet that uses less water when it flushes will also help conserve water. By going from a toilet that uses five gallons of water per flush to a toilet that uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush, you can reduce the amount of water your toilet uses in a year by 70 percent.

In the kitchen, people can use a refrigerator water filter to cut down on the use of bottled water. Water filters remove sediments, reduce lead and reduce the chlorine taste in water. With a good water filter, you can turn tap water into water that tastes as good as or better than anything bottled water makers can offer, thus making the most of your available water. People can also conserve water by running a dishwasher only when it is loaded to capacity. When using dishwashers for smaller loads, set the water to the appropriate level. Recycling rainwater by using rain barrels to capture runoff is another way to conserve water. By limiting the amount of runoff that makes it to storm drains, you can help reduce water pollution.

Even though 70 percent of the earth is composed of water, around 99 percent of that water is not available for human use. That’s why conserving water is extremely important, especially during a drought or times of little rainfall. Using water filters and other devices to make your water use more efficient is a good place to start. You must also learn how to monitor your water use and not be wasteful. If you wait until an actual water crisis occurs, the restrictions on your water use may be much more severe than any of your own conservation efforts.

Grady Winston bio: Writer, designer, internet man

Photo & graphics credits: Blog.mlive, Waterdamageout