Nothing is more satisfying than a cold glass of water when it is hot, like it has been in recent days. But what if you did not have running water or a fridge? What if the nearest water was more than a mile away and was in a stream filled with water-borne bacteria that could make you very sick?
More than a billion people in the world cannot take the access to a cold glass of water for granted the way that we do.
It is easy in our part of the world to use water carelessly. Because we are so fortunate, we need to take care of this precious commodity. So, I ask you to consider making some choices that will conserve as much water as possible.
• Always turn the water faucet off tightly.
• Promptly repair leaks. One leak can waste a thousand gallons of water per year.
• Use an aerator and/or a water flow-reducer on your tap to reduce your use.
• Don’t run water continuously when washing hands or brushing teeth. Wash dishes in a partially filled sink and rinse them with the spray attachment on your tap.
• If you have a dishwasher, wash full loads only, and use the shortest cycle possible. Many dishwashers have a conserver/water-miser cycle.
• Partially fill the sink when washing your face or shaving, rather than running water continuously. Use short bursts of water to clean razors.
• Use either low-flow shower heads or adjustable flow-reducer shower devices.
• You can reduce water use by 40 percent to 50 percent with low-flush toilets.
• Wash only full loads of clothes. Use the shortest cycle possible and the minimum amount of detergent.
• Use only cleaning products that will not harm the environment when they are washed away after use.
• Use sprinklers to water your lawn or garden, and apply about a ½ inch of water three to five times per week in the summer. To know how long it takes to apply that much water, set out empty tuna cans to measure it and determine the time needed. It could take 15-30 minutes depending on the type of sprinkler. Make sure your sprinklers are reaching all the plants or lawn.
• Water during a cool part of the day. Watering midday means that most of the water will be lost through evaporation. Do not water on windy days. Do not overwater. Your soil cannot store extra water.
• Use a timer when watering, if possible. Do not turn on sprinklers and leave.
Water is the most precious commodity in the world. We are fortunate when it comes to its availability. The least we can do is not squander it.
To learn more about water conservation, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 912-880-4888, email keeplibertycounty firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.keeplibertybeautiful.org.
Swida is executive director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.