Did you know World Water Day is quickly approaching? March 22nd will mark the next World Water Day in hopes of not only celebrating our planet’s most precious resource but also in helping the world learn and innovate new ways to use and preserve more H2O. With a little attention—even for just one day—World Water Day can be a refreshing way to spread awareness of the facts surrounding this precious resource.
Water: What’s the Big Deal?
We hear daily reminders on social media to “drink more water” and even have stylized stickers with the words “stay hydrated” scrolled across our water bottles. But what’s the big deal, anyway? Water seems like the most bland, basic, and common thing globally. Why should we care how much we drink, let alone dedicate a whole day to water?
Water is an absolute necessity for human health and survival. The human body is composed of 60% water; at birth, it is nearly 75% water! Right down to the molecular level, water plays a function in every aspect of human existence. Within the human body alone, water:
- plays a critical role in regulating temperature
- lubricates the joints, eyes, and mouth
- transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body
- maintains blood pressure
- flushes and removes waste from the body
- protects and heals muscles and tissue from damage
- and more
If water is so essential to the human body, it is almost incomprehensible to imagine how critical water is to the Earth’s ecosystems and the plethora of living creatures. It is easy to see why, when searching for life on other planets, space exploration teams specifically look for water as a sign of the potential of harboring life.
Why Conserve Water?
It is increasingly important for human civilization to be cognisant of the societal use of water and how to use and conserve it wisely to ensure life continues to thrive on the planet. Just some of the many reasons that water conservation is important to include:
- Limited availability: Even though Earth seems to be overwhelmed with water, less than 1% is actually suitable for human use and consumption. Most humans’ water is spent on agriculture to keep the world’s population fed.
- Energy savings: It takes considerable energy and complicated processing systems to supply, treat, and transport water to households and businesses worldwide. By being more conscious of daily water usage, a considerable amount of energy can be saved.
- Population growth: Population growth—especially in naturally dry states—has put considerable strain on the underground water supply and above-ground reserves such as the Colorado River and Lake Powell. For several years, Western states have struggled to allocate water to serve the new communities of people who are increasingly settling in these dry states but using water the way they would in wet climates.
- Monetary savings: It can feel abstract to try and save water every day without seeing any change in the world around you. But what about seeing your water bill drop every month? By reducing your water usage, you can also reduce your water bill.
With World Water Day just around the corner, it’s one thing to list all the reasons why saving water is important, but it can be quite another to try and figure out how to save water without compromising a modern lifestyle. Luckily, saving water doesn’t have to be painful. Small and simple habitual changes can add up to big water savings.
- Fix leaks: Just like small water savings can add up, small leaks can devastate how much water is being used in households across the nation. Do a quick audit of the water fixtures in your home—faucets, under sinks, toilets, sprinklers, and water heaters—to see if there are any small leaks you may not have noticed. Fixing these leaks will save you money and take a little strain off the water processing systems.
- Shorten shower time: The average shower time in the United States is 8 minutes, with each minute using 2.5 gallons of water. Every minute you can save in the shower can save 2.5 gallons! That has the potential for some serious savings.
- Switch your shower and faucet heads: Low-flow showerheads and faucets use special mesh screens to reduce the amount of water used without compromising the feeling of water pressure. These showerheads allow more airflow while running so that you still feel high water pressure and a clean, saturated feeling while saving water and money.
- Install a water-wise toilet: A low-flow toilet saves water at every step. The toilet uses less water in the tank and bowl while allowing users to choose between two flush options. The first option is to be used for urine only and uses less water to flush the toilet clean, while the second option is for fecal matter that may need more water to flush cleanly.
- Don’t let the tap run: Turn off the running water when you are not actively using it. This can look like turning it off while brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, shaving, or washing your face. You’ll soon find yourself wondering why you ever kept it on before!
- Watch your watering: You may be surprised that your plants and lawns may not need to be watered as frequently as you think. Deep watering—drip or sprinkle watering less frequently for longer—your lawn and plants not only saves you water but also strengthen and deepen their roots, keeping them moist for longer and helping them reach natural water more easily.
- Collect rainwater: Collect rainwater in a barrel or container and use it to water your plants or outdoor washing projects. You might need to check on local laws, though, as some towns and cities have rules regarding rainwater collection.
This World Water Day, use the day to quickly evaluate your living environment and lifestyle and how you can save just a few more drops of water. Remember, every little bit counts. By following small and simple habitual changes, conserving water does not need to feel like a lifestyle compromise or stress. Still, it can actually turn into a noticeable benefit to your life. Saving water can also mean saving money and maybe even saving you time as well. So, next time you are tempted to keep the water running while brushing your teeth or use all the hot water in the shower, try turning it off just a little sooner and see how easy it can be to make big changes.