Friday, March 21, 2008


Do you know what tomorrow is? Most importantly it is Jack's third birthday, but coming in at a close second is World Water Day (the Water for Life Decade actually started on the day Jack was born in 2005).

Water conservation was not even on my radar until we moved to Colorado. I didn't waste water, but we certainly made no efforts to conserve water. As it is in many western states, water supply is a big issue. Colorado is fortunate to be a state that actually produces water (from snow pack), but the water production isn't consistent throughout the year. We are also just coming out of a multiple year drought. Combine that with an increasing population, water is definitely an issue.

But Colorado's water issues are nothing compared to the rest of the world.
  • According to the World Health Organization, less than 1% of the world's freshwater, or 0.007% of all the water on Earth, is readily available for human world consumption.
  • Almost 1 in 5 people in the world lack access to safe drinking water
  • Demand for water since the beginning of the 20th century has increased at more than twice the rate of the population growth
  • The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day while the average African family uses roughly 5 gallons of water each day.
We have been trying to make some changes in our house to conserve water. It can definitely be a challenge with kids who love to play in the sink, flush the toilet, and leave faucets running (I had to go turn off a faucet while writing this post!) But we are trying. Some changes we have been making on our house to conserve water:
  • Shorter showers. My goal is 3 minutes, but I am at about 5 minutes. This winter I've been using the bathroom heater as my timer. Gotta find a new way to time myself now that it is warming up.
  • Sometimes I skip showers for days at a time! Okay, so skipping showers isn't exactly a concious "green" decision for me. It is more a side effect of being a mom, but I'm going to take credit even when it isn't deserved! LOL
  • Re-use cooking water to water plants.
  • Running the dishwasher and the washing machine on quick cycles instead of normal cycles.
Other Water Saving Tips for Your Home
Install low flow plumbing fixtures.
Repair all leaks immediately.
Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth or shaving.
Turn off the flow while soaping or shampooing.
Refrigerate drinking water instead of letting a faucet flow until the water is cold.
Rinse veggies in the sink with the drain closed or in a pan of water.
Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket.

I'm going to do the "Water Has Many Uses" curriculum with my kids next week. I think we'll also do some water experiments and see if we can find some books at the library about water. I'll be sure to share what we find!


Tiffany said...

This is one area that I have to get better at. I do take short showers about 5 minutes. But I do love a bath - they happen more often in the winter but now with two kids they almost never happen. We have a well so it is harder to see how much water we are using every day.

One good way for me to conserve water is to use my cooking water to water the plants. If I were to do this my plants would probablly get water a lot more often!

I also never thought about water usage until I moved to Colorado and some towns are better at it than others. In Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte you can only water on certain days and from 5am to 10am and from 5pm to 8pm. Gunnison has no regulations regarding this.

Dawn said...

I've gotten much better about conserving water now that I live in a house that has city water for the lawn. Many homes in my area have irrigation water for watering and it's so cheap that people are able to have giant, lush, green lawns despite the fact that we live in a desert region. I really need to cut back on my shower time. Thanks for sharing the great curriculum resource.

Piecake said...

A former co-worker used to run the shower waiting for it to heat up. Now she puts a bucket in the shower to catch the cold water and uses that for her plants and garden. She also has her laundry water diverted to an irrigation system for her lawn and garden (she uses earth friendly laundry soap).