Who are we kidding? We're humans, and new habits are hard to form. I'm a believer in making changes that stick and not trying to do everything at once. So here are three simple things you can do to reduce your water consumption by over 2,000 gallons of water each month - that's enough water to fill a swimming pool in a year!
#1 Don't leave your faucet running
1-3 gallons of water flow through faucets every minute, and whether you're filling up the dog bowl, brushing your teeth, or doing the dishes, the water you use all adds up. Turn your tap off unless you are actively rinsing or washing something. Just by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtime, you can save up to 8 gallons of water! That adds up to more than 200 gallons a month.
#2 Only run full laundry and dish loads
Laundry: Even Energy Star washers use 14 gallons of water for every load you run. The average American does between 2-4 loads of laundry a week and the majority of loads are just over half full (65%). Running full loads of laundry means you could do at least one less load of laundry each week. Doing this reduces water consumption in an average household by 56 gallons every month.
Dishes: In the average home, dishwashers are run five times every week and the majority of loads are 60% full. Each time you run your dishwasher you use about 3 gallons of water. By running 1-2 fewer loads, you can save 24 gallons per month.
#3 Shower in 5 min or less
Keep your shower under 5 minutes. The average shower time is 8 minutes. Cutting your shower time by 3 minutes saves 7.5 gallons of water for every shower you take (1.5 gallons/minute). For those of you who shower every day like me, this saves you 225 gallons of water every month!
#4 Eat Less Beef
For the record, we said beef, not meat. Cattle-feed crops, which end up as beef and dairy products, account for 23% of water consumption in the US (The Guardian 2020)
It takes an average of 1,800 gallons of water to produce 1 lb. of beef, which is significantly more than other meats or vegetarian alternatives. Here's a breakdown:
Turkey: 226 gallons of water/lb.
Chicken: 518 gallons of water/lb.
Pork: 576 gallons of water/lb.
Veggie Burger: 16 gallons of water/lb.
There are two key reasons it takes so much water to produce beef: (1) It takes a lot of water to grow cattle-fed crops like alfalfa, hay, and corn. (2) Cows eat massive amounts of feed but are very inefficient in converting that feed into meat. (More feed = more water).
By replacing a beef-based meal with an alternative even once a month, you can save 1,200+ gallons of water.
There are other tips to save water, but these are easy to implement and significantly cut down your water consumption, leaving more water in our rivers.