50 Ways to Save Water [Whole Living]

April_2012 Whole Living 50 Ways to Save Water by Virginia Sole-Smith

Guys, be sure to check out Whole Living‘s Blue Issue (April 2012) — it’s on newsstands now and it features my cover story, 50 Ways to Save Water (that’s the PDF, if you hate those, it’s also on their website here).

Now, excuse me while I nerd out for a minute, because I learned a ton reporting this piece. Like the fact that it takes 2,900 gallons of water to produce a single pair of blue jeans, and that it takes way more water (1,857 gallons) to produce a pound of beef than a pound of chicken (409 gallons); yes, yes, vegetarians, a plant-based diet wins again. Though interestingly, soy milk is just about tied with cow’s milk: 49 gallons of water to make one glass vs. 53 gallons of water per glass. So that’s good because soy milk is kinda icky.

And all of this is important because 884 million people lack access to clean water around the world, and like most environmental stories, the plot is only getting thicker.

The good news is there is a lot you can do. 50 things, actually! I have been trying to incorporate some myself — using leftover ice cubes to water houseplants, planning out a new irrigation system for my garden that gets water to the plants without too much waste. (Soaker hoses = good; wildly spraying your yard like you’re at a carwash = not so great.) Probably our biggest impact change has been getting a SodaStream; y’all know I don’t do product reviews, but it has seriously changed my life! And no more buying several two-liter bottles of seltzer and soda every week, which each require around 132 gallons of water a pop. You’re welcome, planet!

However, my husband would be appalled if I didn’t confess the key ways in which I am still wasting water wildly and therefore a complete fraud. They are:

1) We often leave faucets dripping because our cats like to drink from the sink and eschew bowls (and the water fountain we purchased for them — yes, we are those people).

2) I refuse to let yellow mellow. Because of the gross.

3) My showers. Oh man. They are not short. I love water.

There’s not much I can do about the first two (I don’t want dehydrated cats and again, gross) but I am working on this last one. I’m going to get this Water Pebble (again, not product placement — I’m buying it with my own dollars!) which is supposed to help by flashing lights when it’s time to get the hell out. I know: Carbon footprint of buying a gadget vs. improved water footprint if I actually shorten my showers… a girl can’t win. But we all do what we can.

So check out the story. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Anyone else have any genius water-saving tips to add to my list? Or want to make an impassioned case for mellowing yellow?

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  1. criss
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    That Water Pebble thing is a sham. I mean, maybe it works, but the problem is that it is calibrated by the first time you use it. All it does is tell you when your shower is going longer than that first time. I guess you could just set a time for one shower and use that to set it to your *desired* time, but it would make way more sense if it were preset to 5 minutes, or even even 8 or 10. I got one, and while I used it once, I never bothered using it after that because I just couldn’t see dealing with one more thing to do when it didn’t really tell me anything important anyway.

  2. Posted June 17, 2012 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    there was so many city where have water problem so i like your 50 ways for save water

  3. Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Most Americans don’t boil our water unless there is a water main break, flood or pulbic announcement by the government. Our water supplier is supposed to notify us if our water doesn’t meet EPA or state standards or if there is a waterborne disease emergency. If we know all the contaminants in our water these days, we should take more precaution. Yeah, I agree, purifier + boiling is the best way to go! (I heard boiling alone doesn’t get rid of all the chemicals and metals in tap water)exile

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