Every day we all eat, drink, cook, travel, shower, buy, consume, throw things away, do laundry, and the list goes on and on… And, every day when we do all of these things we are in some way impacting the environment.
As I mentioned a month ago, how much we do all of these things are variables in determining our ecological footprints. I also talked about how much our footprints matter in determining how we all individually impact the environment with our consumption habits and why it is important to reduce our impact.
What I failed to mention, though, is how much each of these habits impact our water footprints. Although many of us do not realize it, almost all of the things we do are in some way related to water. According to the National Geographic, “nearly 95 percent of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy you use, products you buy, and services you rely on.”
The Water Footprint Network states that, “producing one kilogram of beef requires 16,000 liters of water,” and “one cup of coffee requires 140 liters of water.” Keep those numbers in mind for a minute… One liter is equal to 33.5 fluid ounces… The Mayo Clinic states that you should have eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, or 64 fluid ounces.
This means that drinking one cup of coffee requires about 4,736 fluid ounces, or 74 days of eight 8-ounce glasses of water. I know that sounds crazy but trust me; I checked the math at least 10 times!
It is common for people to go throughout their day not realizing how their actions are impacting the environment but it is even more common, in my opinion, for people not to notice how much water they are wasting. If you want to save water, which you should, here are some easy tips:
- Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth, don’t leave the water running while rinsing your dishes, and rinse your razor in the sink.
- Run washing machines and dishwashers only when you have a full load.
- Drink from your tap, bottled water is usually tap water anyway and the life-cycle of a plastic bottle of water can significantly impact the environment. With this in mind, buy a water filter for your tap or keep a filter in your refrigerator.
- Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Not only is flushing wasteful but every time you flush your trash in the toilet or use the garbage disposal you are wasting between five to seven gallons of water.
- Buy low-flow showerheads and faucets and low-volume toilets, and keep an eye out for leaky faucets and showerheads.
- Do your planting in the yard in the rainy seasons or install a greywater system. Also, use a drip irrigation system where possible because they are much more efficient.
I know that a lot of these tips aren’t news to anyone but I also know that these tips aren’t practiced by everyone. Even if you aren’t changing your ways for the environment it is a good way to save money!