By Allie Garnham
Special to the Eagle
Almost 2 billion people will be living in countries with a water shortage by 2025, according to the UN. However, there is hope that if people change the way they use water, the world can avoid that grim future.
By just making a few alterations, changing some habits or installing new fixtures, you can save water and money. Your home can be your main battle ground against climate change and water shortage.
You Use Lots of Water Everyday
In drier parts of the U.S. people use more water compared to people in other much cooler wetter regions. Generally, a family of four uses about 400 gallons of water every day, which means that each person in a home uses 100 gallons of water.
Roughly 70 percent of water is used indoors while outdoor use accounts for 30 percent according to the EPA. It may sound ridiculous if you put in numbers, but the fact that each individual in a home flushes the toilet five times a day makes this easier to believe.
Old Habits Die Hard
Simply changing the way you use water in the house is enough to make a difference. For example, you can use a cup of water to brush your teeth instead of brushing while the faucet is running. Instead of taking a bath every day, you can limit that activity to the weekends and take showers the rest of the week.
Apart from that, depending on your local laws, you can use grey water to clean your home and water plants outdoors. If everyone did this, a lot of water and energy used to pump that water would be saved. Less fossil fuel burned to produce energy means less pollution.
Replace or Retrofit the Faucet
The kitchen faucet is used more than any other faucet in your home and it accounts for 20% of indoor water use. Your old kitchen faucet uses 5 gallons per minute but a water efficient faucet only uses 1.3 gallons per minute. To enjoy these savings, you may need to replace your existing kitchen faucet.
However, retrofits like aerators are a practical alternative to replacing your faucet. An aerator reduces the amount of water coming out of a faucet by mixing that water with air. It separates a single flow of water into many smaller streams just like a sieve would.
This reduces the space water can flow through, which results in lower water flow. The aerator does this without reducing water pressure. You also do not need to spend any money on a plumber because aerators are very easy to install.
Toilet Flushing Is A Culprit Too
Install high-efficiency toilets that use less than 1 gallon of water per flush. With a high-efficiency toilet, a family of four can save 20,000 gallons of water a year.
After you have installed your new toilet or new retrofit for your toilet and faucet, check them regularly to make sure there are no leaks. We do not have to sit down and watch the world dry up because we are all capable of doing something about climate change.
A version of this column appeared on the website EcoWatch.