Water is a finite resource, and according to the EPA, only about 0.3% of the water on Earth is usable by humans. We need to share that small amount of usable fresh water between agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community, and personal needs. We can't afford to waste any of it, but people unknowingly waste water every day!
Just like you calculated your carbon footprint, you can find out how big (or small!) your personal water footprint is. Once you've calculated your footprint, play around with the numbers to see how modifiying certain everyday activities (ex. keeping the tap on while brushing your teeth, eating meat, etc.) can reduce your footprint. http://h2oconserve.org/home.php?pd=index
Keep in mind that water waste translates into energy waste! Every drop of water we use must be sanitized, transported, and heated. In fact, IC spends more money on heating water than on any other energy needs.
Try these tips to reduce your water waste:
- Turn of the water while you're brushing your teeth, washing your face, shaving, or soaping up in the shower. Don't let water run - brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.
- Take shorter showers! (less than 10 minutes)
- Always report water leaks to the maintenance staff. That wasted water is money and energy literally down the drain.
- Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.
- Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Throw tissues, insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
- Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version. Some units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs.
- Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or properly set the water level for the size of load you are using.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
- Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste instead of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also can add 50% to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to malfunctions and maintenance problems.
- Try to do one thing each day that will result in a savings of water. Don't worry if the savings is minimal. Every drop counts. And every person can make a difference. So tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers to "Turn it Off" and "Keep it Off"!
(Here's our source for some of these tips).
And a quick note about bottled water:
If you need bottled water, go with a DIY bottle! Use a refillable bottle like those from Kleen Kanteen and SIGG (also sold at the Bookstore, Wegman's, and many other retailers) and use tap or filtered water. Avoid buying "disposable" plastic bottles - this creates a lot of waste, and uses up a lot of resources in the process of producing and transporting the water and plastic. Watch the "Story of Bottled Water" to find out all you need to know about why bottled water is a ripoff for the planet, your wallet, and your health.
Also, visit this site, that has quick information about why bottled water is no good for us or the earth! And find out how and how you can replace bottled water with a filtered reusable water bottle! http://www.thewaterpage.com/filtered-water-bottles.htm
If you decide to use a plastic bottle for your refillable water bottle, make sure you choose a safe plastic! Recent studies show that many commonly used plastics leach chemicals known to be hormone disrupters and carcinogens into your water.
Avoid: #3 (PVC), #6 (polystyrene), #7 (polycarbonate hard plastic)
Choose: #2 (HDPE), #4 (LPDE), #5 (PP)
If you are having issues with leaks, etc. put in a service request at: www.ithaca.edu/facilities/src/