“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” — Jacques Cousteau
Arguably, water is cheap. In the United States, on average, tap water costs less than $3 for 1,000 gallons—or mere fractions of a penny per gallon. Compare that to the cost of bottled water at the store, or filling up at your local gas station. It becomes apparent that water, one of our most precious natural resources, is a bargain.
But while the cost is low, the stakes are high. In some communities, the water supply might seem abundant, but often that’s not the case. Between 1950 and 2005, the U.S. population doubled, while our use of water through public supplies more than tripled.
So what’s a concerned citizen to do? Start by standing up for water. You can join thousands of your neighbors supporting the We’re for Water campaign, organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program, and by making simple changes at home.
Given that each American uses an average of 100 gallons of water every day at home, it’s easy to find a few gallons to spare. We can all start saving water today with three simple steps: Check. Twist. And replace.
First, check toilets to reveal any silent leaks. Easy-to-fix household leaks can waste enough water each year to fill a backyard swimming pool. Just add a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank and wait 10 minutes before flushing. If dye appears in the toilet bowl, your toilet has a leak. If you find a leak, fix it. Visit the WaterSense Fix a Leak Week page for do-it-yourself repair tips, or contact a plumbing professional.
Second, if you don’t have them already, twist an aerator onto each bathroom faucet to save water. You won’t notice a difference in flow. Faucet aerators cost as little as a few dollars and can save a household more than 500 gallons each year—enough to do 14 loads of laundry. For confidence that an aerator will have your faucet using 30 percent less water while still flowing with force, look for the WaterSense label. This designation is only awarded to products independently tested and certified to meet EPA’s water efficiency and performance criteria.
Third, replace your old showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model. This will help you shrink your water footprint while still enjoying a satisfying shower. Making this switch not only reduces a household’s water use by 2,300 gallons annually but also saves energy from heating less water. It’s enough to power a television for a year. Accompanying savings on utility bills are an added bonus.
Because we also want to ensure water supplies last for future generations, Water – Use It Wisely is doing its part too. By educating our target audiences — including homeowners, teachers, kids, and businesses — about more than 100 ways to save water, we can change water-use behavior and make a lasting and positive impact on our precious water supplies.
Want to do more? Then visit the EPA’s WaterSense website and take the I’m for Water Pledge, and become a fan of WaterSense on Facebook to share why you’re for water and learn more water-saving tips: www.facebook.com/epawatersense.
From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by EPA that seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products and services.