10 Ways to Conserve Water in Just a Minute

Posted on February 21, 2012 by Courtney

Please welcome today’s guest poster, Jessica Arinella, creator/writer/producer of the What You Can Do series.

My friends know that I suffer from something I refer to as ISD — or Impending Sense of Doom. You may recognize this feeling of hopelessness when you see an image of a polar bear hanging off the edge of a rapidly melting iceberg. With so many concerns from hunger to ocean pollution, it’s hard to know how to make a positive impact on our world. And one critical challenge that really gets my ISD going is water conservation.

While our planet is covered in water, only one percent of it is suitable for human use. Some experts even believe that water could become as scarce as oil in the not-so-distant future. And the EPA estimates by 2013, 36 of the 50 states could be facing water shortages.

The good news is there are many easy ways to save water. As I believe action is the only cure for ISD, I created a project called What You Can Do, a series of 60-second videos to show how to help our world’s most important issues. Below are some of our favorite ideas and episodes on water conservation:  

1) Turn off the tap

The EPA estimates that the average American can use up to 100 gallons of water a day. But eight of those gallons can be effortlessly saved by turning off the tap when you brush your teeth in the morning and at night. This simple change can save 240 gallons a month! View a video on conserving water in the bathroom.

2) Shower vs. Bath

Take baths sparingly. The average shower uses 10-25 gallons of water while the average bath uses 70!

3) Shower Smart

If everyone used one less gallon of water per shower each day, we would save 85 billion gallons of water a year. To calculate how much water your shower uses check out this video.

4) Don’t let the water go down the drain

While waiting for water to heat up in your shower or rinsing veggies in the sink, use a bucket or basin to catch the runoff. Save this water to wash your car or refresh your plants. View a video on making small changes.

5) Trick your tank

The average toilet uses 5 gallons of water per flush. By filling a 1-liter bottle of sand and placing it in your toilet tank, you can save a half-gallon of water a flush. View a video on tricking your tank.

6) Fix leaky pipes

Every year, we lose 1 trillion gallons of water due to leaking pipes — greater than the annual water use of LA, Chicago and Miami combined. If you spot a leak, make an appointment to get it fixed ASAP. View a video on water conservation.

7) Restaurant Water

When dining out, say no to complimentary tap water if you don’t intend to drink it. Or place a napkin over your glass so the waiter knows not to refill it. If 25 percent of restaurant guests declined the complimentary glass of water, we could save 26 million gallons of water per year. View a video on restaurant water.

8) Clean Up Cues

Use a dishwasher instead of washing your dishes by hand, and scrape plates rather than rinse them. This change saves 10 gallons of water a load. If you don’t have a dishwasher, fill a basin with soapy water rather than let the tap run. An open tap pours out up to 20 gallons of water while a basin can save up to 10 gallons. View a video on greener dishwashing.

9) Get Creative

Small changes can make a big impact. Instead of tossing your ice down the drain, use it to water your plants. Instead of getting a new cup/glass for each drink, use the same one all day.

10) Shop WaterSense

If upgrading your home, consider purchasing a WaterSense appliance. WaterSense is a   partnership program sponsored by the EPA that helps families and businesses reduce their water consumption by 20-30 percent.

Join Jessica at www.whatyoucando.com to discover easy ideas to help more causes that inspire your passion.


  1. 70 gallons for a bath? That doesn’t seem right. I’m thinking if I put water in my tub (which granted, is old and small) for a bath, it might be half that. I realize the point is people underestimate their water usage, but this seems like a major overestimation of bath water and underestimation of shower usage.

    February 21st, 2012 at 11:01 am
    Comment by The Modern Gal
  2. Hey Modern Gal!
    Thank you for writing in! I too was really surprised to learn this stat, and I agree that it must depend on the size of your bathtub, the length of your shower and other factors. This particular figure was provided by the EPA. http://water.epa.gov/learn/kids/drinkingwater/water_trivia_facts.cfm
    But yes you are right, my intention for the article was to illuminate how much water we all use without realizing it.
    Thank you again for reading!

    February 21st, 2012 at 1:18 pm
    Comment by Jessica

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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