Today is World Water Day, a day to be conscious about water use and to implement lasting changes to daily habits in order to reduce water waste and promote water conservation. There are many reasons to curb our water consumption. As the world’s population increases, so does demand for water. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.7 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. In addition, approximately 2.3 billion people are exposed to water-borne diseases, with children around the world dying from this type of exposure. For these reasons, water activists around the world are fighting to make access to clean drinking water a human right (you can help here).
How can you start conserving water? The number one thing you can do to save water is take a look at how much water is used in order to produce the food that you eat. National Geographic has a great interactive comparison guide for water use and different foods. Did you know that it takes approximately 1,799 gallons* of water to produce one pound of beef, but only 216 gallons to produce a pound of soy beans? That is a HUGE difference! This means that small changes (i.e. turning off the faucet while brushing our teeth), while important over the long haul, pale in comparison to the amount of water we can save by simply altering what we put on our plates. Even one meatless day per week would have an amazing impact on water usage.
You can also get an estimate of the typical amount of water you use per day by taking the Water Calculator quiz over at H2O Conserve. The quiz will get you thinking about how water connects to almost every aspect of your life. It will help give you an idea of when you are using the most water and what changes you need to make in order to save. The site also has a page full of Water Saving Tips for each area of your home/life, starting with things that you can do at absolutey zero cost (some will actually save you money).
*This is the most conservative estimate I could find, other sources calculate that it takes thousands of gallons more.