Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simple Suggestion #41... Track your water usage

Water is an incredibly important commodity in our world, simply because we can't live without it. We've had just a few warm days this summer, and they have made me more aware of the importance of keeping hydrated. Hot weather (though we haven't seen much of it yet) also makes me think of all my brothers and sisters around the globe who have to walk for miles to get their daily ration of something that flows too freely in my sink. I know that I live in the country where water use is highest per capita, and that worries me a little when I hear dire predictions about water shortages due to global climate instability. Of course, with all the rain and recent flooding in Alberta, it's hard to believe in water shortages here.

Even so, we've been trying to cut down. Our family has been tracking our water usage for the last several years through graphing the cubic metres that are reported on our monthly bill in an effort to reduce our use, and we have made some important strides in lowering the graph line by making a few changes. Rather than watering a big green rectangle, what grass we have has to fend for itself, as most of our front lawn has been turned into perennial beds with plants that are drought tolerant. When our top load washing machine gave up the ghost, we installed a front load washer that uses an unbelievably small amount of water in comparison (my husband jokes that it's like beating damp rags against rocks, but it gets our clothes cleaner than the multi-litre top-loader ever did). We've installed low-flow taps, showerheads, and toilets, and a handy soap-up valve in our shower. I've also become more careful about letting the tap run. When the water is cold and I need hot, I fill my watering cans until I get the desired temperature for the sink, and water my houseplants. When a waterbottle isn't emptied at school, my plants get another drink.

These are small steps, but important ones. Feel free to leave your favourite water saving tips. The thing is, change begins with us, and with seven billion of us on the planet, it might not hurt to re-evaluate our relationship to the water that gives everything life.

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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