One of the easiest steps we can take to help mitigate the impacts of drought is conserving water. If we use water wisely at all times, more water will be available to us and to plants and wildlife when a drought happens. Let’s take a look at a few simple ways you and your community can conserve water.
Make Every Drop Count
We can lose a lot of water doing simple everyday tasks. Did you know that turning off the water while you brush your teeth can save more than 100 gallons of water a month? If you have a leaky faucet, the drips can add up to 300 gallons of wasted water a month.
Just shutting off the faucet or fixing a leak can save a lot of water. Another way to save water is to install devices that use less water to perform everyday tasks. For example, we use the most water in our homes when we take a shower or flush the toilet. Companies now sell low-flow toilets and showerheads that can cut the amount of water used in half. People are even beginning to use composting toilets that require no water. Also, new washing machines and dishwashers use much less water than older machines.
Many cities have programs to help people buy these new water-saving devices. Check with your city to find out if they have these programs. Remember, saving water also means saving money.
Farmers and businesses are also using new inventions to help them reduce the amount of water they use to grow crops or manufacture things. New sprinkler irrigation systems can reduce water use by spraying the water out with less force so more gets to the plant and less evaporates or blows away. Some drip irrigation systems use less water by directing the water directly to the plant’s roots. If you have a garden or if your parents water your lawn, many similar devices are available for use around the home too.
Another great way that you can reduce the amount of water used around your house is through xeriscaping. It’s a funny-looking word, but it is a fun way to conserve water! Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that uses little water by only using plants that are native to the area you live in.
Native plants usually need less water to grow or can make better use of the water that is available to them than other types of grasses, trees, and shrubs. People who do this type of landscaping also find creative ways to use rocks or other types of ground covers in their yards or even in front of their businesses. The keys to xeriscaping are to use only as much water as the plants need and to choose landscaping designs and plants that make use of the available rainfall.
Xeriscaping is very common in drier places like Arizona, New Mexico, and even Utah, but it is catching on all across the United States and many parts of the world. You can learn more from your local extension service or landscaping or nursery businesses in your towns. You can also learn more about xeriscaping from the websites in our list of resources.
Businesses, cities, and people are finding new ways to save water by reusing it. Many businesses have started recycling water that they use in their manufacturing process. Instead of letting water run down the drain, the water is collected, cleaned (if needed) and run back through the system.
Many cities and other types of businesses are using “gray water” (waste water that is treated and cleaned) to water golf courses and city parks. Water parks like Denver Water World are recycling the splash water into other areas of the water park.
Check out our list of resources to find more information on water recycling.