Everyone knows that all living things need water to survive. Sadly, we have taken our water supplies for granted and have not always been careful about how we have used this valuable natural resource. Our drinking water is going to cost more in the future, so it is important that kids learn to use it wisely and develop some efficiency strategies that will help when they are adults and have families of their own.

Here are some things you can do to help make our water resources last longer…

Bathrooms:

About 75% of the water used inside our homes is used in the bathroom. Experts estimate that in an average household about 40+ percent of the water gets flushed down toilets and the other 30 percent is used in showers and baths.

  • Take shorter showers. A five minute shower uses 25 gallons of water. One option is to turn the water on to get wet, turn it off while you lather up and wash your hair…then turn it back on to rinse off. This bathing method can save as much as a hundred gallons of water a week!
  • Here’s a “two-for-one” idea — place a bucket or plastic container in the shower to catch extra water. They used to call this a “Navy Shower” since this is how sailors shower on ships and in submarines! Use the captured water for indoor plants.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a trash can — flush only when necessary. And, while we’re talking about toilets…NO WIPES IN THE PIPES! Do not flush anything but toilet paper — which was designed to decompose.
  • Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth. Turn it back on to rinse your toothbrush and clean the sink. Only use the water you actually need for washing your face, too.
  • Tell your parents if you see a leaking faucet or if the toilet “runs” after flushing. These leaks can waste thousands of gallons of water a year and that is just money down the drain.
  • It also takes a lot of water to wash dishes and to do the laundry. If you help with these household chores, use the right water level, and only run these appliances with full loads.

A huge amount of water is used outside the home…for lawns and landscaped areas. It is true that kids may not design and plant these areas, but they are often responsible for helping to maintain them.

  • Adjust the lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer blades of grass will help shade the ground and this helps hold moisture longer.
  • Water lawns only when necessary. Providing a deep soaking less frequently will help build good roots for better drought resistance.
  • Water the yard, not the sidewalk or concrete. If there’s a sprinkler system, tell your parents if any of the heads are not functioning properly.
  • In every case, only use the amount of water you actually need. Make a commitment to conserve — look for new ways to use water wisely in and around your
    home!