People tend to under estimate the value of water. Aesthetically and functionally water is one of the most valuable resources in the world. It is also one of the most fragile resources that exists. According to national geographic 99% of the earths water is unusable to humans. So why are we acting like it is an infinite resource? It scares me to think we could run out, we could see wars over water rights, and even more people will go without access to safe drinking water.
People often say "I am only one person, what can I do?" "I won't have a big impact." But that's not the way I like to look at things. I still want the next generation to be able to experience the lakes and rivers I have, to get to see a glacier, even in my own lifetime some of these things are changing drastically. Every little bit counts. So what are some ways you can help protect our freshwater? There are a million different ways to reduce water consumption and prevent pollution, but here are some easy ones, because even the smallest actions add up.
- Shorter Showers. It is said time and time again, but it still holds merit. Not washing your hair every shower or turning the water off while you shave can all help you to cut your showers back.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Taps put out a lot of water, multiple that by twice a day and 365 days a year, it adds up.
- Reduce runoff. There are many ways to do this including reducing compaction by staying on the paths when walking, hiking, or riding bike. Increasing green spaces and vegetation, this is also a way to make your yard look fantastic. Runoff can carry sediments and pollution to watersheds, decreasing runoff also helps with infiltration and soil health.
- Go for a few wears. Let's face it everyone can wear those jeans more than once.
- Don't water your lawn! If this is a must do find a low flow system and do it in the evenings to reduce evaporation.
- Inspect your taps, showers, and toilets. Avoiding leaks is an important way to prevent unnessecary water use.
- When recycling use your dishwater for the items rather than running clean water to rinse them.
- Tap water isn't all bad. Reduce your consumption of bottled water and buy a water filter instead.
- Encourage your community to implement water conservation strategies. That can be as easy as encouraging rain barrels, or as big as urban wetlands. There are thousands of water conservation strategies and it is important to find what works well for yourself, your house hold and your community.
- Collecting rain, or in the winter collecting snow. Rain barrels are an awesome way to water your garden without a hose, reduce runoff, and water your house plants without a tap. In times of drought the value of collecting precipitation is even more important. In the past people often didn't like the idea of rain barrels because they can be.... Well they can be ugly, so don't let them be. You can buy ones that are more appealing or you can give a face lift to old ones. Make them suit your needs. In the winter you can bring snow into your basement and water your house plants all winter.
We often hear about the 3Rs and the most important is reduce. By reducing consumption of all things including packaging it helps to reduce water usage, in your home and before the products even get there. I am no where near perfect but these are some small ways. To mitigate losses and reduce pollution in the watersheds we love.