Filling glass with tap water. Modern faucet and sink.

© Tero Vesalainen |

1THING: Simple Ways to Use Less Water

By: Lori Melton

November 20, 2018

Water is a precious natural resource that can easily be taken for granted by people who have readily available, instant access to clean and safe water every day. Some people aren’t so lucky. Per data UN (United Nations) Water data, 1.2 billion people lack access to safely-managed drinking water services and 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. Cutting back water usage at home is a key part of making an eco-conscious effort to avoid wasting this critical resource. Following these simple suggestions will help you reduce the amount of water you use.

Related: 3 Simple Ways to Make Recycling Easier

Take shorter showers

Filling a tub to take a bath can reportedly take 36 gallons of water. Consider taking a shower instead of a bath and when doing so, cut your shower time down and reduce water usage by turning on the water on to get wet, turning it off to lather up and then back on to rinse. Also, consider using a shower bucket to catch water instead of letting it go down the drain and then use that water for other uses, such as watering plants outside.

Turn off the water when you brush your teeth

Getting in the habit of quickly wetting your toothbrush and then turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth is a simple way to save water. Water flows out of a faucet at an average of 2.5 gallons per minute. Waiting to turn the faucet back on for rinsing and keeping it short is best.

Turn off the tap for hand washing and dishwashing

The same rule applies for washing your hands or rinsing dishes. Turn the tap on to wet your hands, off while you lather and back on to rinse. When doing dishes, try filling a tub with just enough sudsy water to wash a stack of dishes, turn the tap off, scrub the dishes and rinse them all at once, instead of leaving the water running the whole time. It also helps to scrape instead of rinse dishes before loading them into the dishwasher; be sure to wait until the dishwasher is completely full before running a load.

Fix leaks in sinks and toilets

Leaks in toilets and sinks can be huge water wasters and can potentially drive up your water bill. If you discover a leak, contact a plumber or a handy friend or relative to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible. Another way to spot leaks is by keeping an eye on your water bill. If you see an unexplained spike in cost and usage, that’s a big sign a leak is causing the cost hike.

Update your toilet and flush less often

Older toilets use more water. If you have an older model, update your toilet to a new, water-conserving one. Also consider flushing less often, for urine only. Each flush uses around three gallons of water. If you wait and flush less frequently, you’ll use less water at the end of the day.

Only run full loads of laundry

Similar to doing dishes, use less water in the laundry room by only doing a load of laundry when the washing machine is full. Doing smaller, multiple loads uses a lot more water.