Reducing Water Consumption in Your Home & Life

By Kary Vannice

Elsewhere in this issue, Randy Jackson’s article, “Huatulco’s Water System: In Survival Mode?” makes a very compelling case for residents of Huatulco to become more conscientious about their water consumption. As residents living within the FONATUR potable water system, each individual consumer plays a vital role in the state of Huatulco’s current and future water situation.

If you’ve experienced some of the water shortages that Randy reported on, instead of pointing the finger at commercial users, real estate developers, or the people living in other sectors, which does nothing to improve the situation, take empowered action. Evaluate your own daily water use and choose to reduce your consumption where you can. Lead by example and demonstrate to others how we all can pitch in and make a difference, in both big and small ways. Every drop counts!

Even if you’re already taking small steps to conserve water in your home, such as shutting the water off when you brush your teeth, shave or wash your hands, there are more but lesser-known ways you can contribute to community water saving efforts. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some examples on how you can adapt your household and your lifestyle to be less water consumptive.

In the bathroom:

· Check your toilet for leaks. This is easily done. Simply add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait to see if the dye shows up in the bowl without being flushed. Toilet leaks can waste up to 100 gallons of water per day!
· Put a plastic bottle filled with sand and water in your toilet tank to displace some of the water so it uses less with each flush.
· Time your showers. A fun way to do this is to listen to music as you bathe. Allow yourself one or two songs to get your body clean and then turn the water off and get out!
· Consider taking only cold showers. Not only has this been proven to be better for your overall health, but it will also deter you from languishing in the shower.

In the kitchen and utility room:

· Today, dishwashers consume less water than hand washing, but most users still rinse every single dish before putting it into the dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers don’t require this. Only pre-rinse a dish if it still has enough food on it to make your pet happy!
· Don’t leave the faucet on when cleaning vegetables. Fill the sink or a large tub and soak all the vegetables at once.
· Store a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the tap to let the water get cold before filling your glass.
· Wait to run your washing machine or dish washer until you have a full load. If your machine has an “eco” mode, use it!
· Instead of pouring half full glasses of water or left-over ice cubes down the drain, pour them into one of your house plants instead.

Around the house:

· Get out your broom! Instead of using the hose and excessive amount of water to clean off your driveway, sidewalk or deck space, use a broom instead. And, on the rare occasion when you do use your hose to clean outdoor space, be sure to attach a squeeze nozzle, so that when not in use, you’re not wasting water.
· Water outdoor plants either very early in the morning or in the evening. Less of the water will evaporate into the atmosphere.
· Select plants and landscaping vegetation that don’t require excessive amounts of water.
· Consider finding a way to reuse the water your AC pulls from the air. Because the water is fresh water, it can be diverted to water outdoor vegetation or be captured and used for cleaning.

Lifestyle changes that will help with global water conservation:

· Adopt meatless Monday. The commercial meat production industry consumes a tremendous amount of water. Some statistics claim you could save 133 gallons of water with each meatless meal!
· Invest in reusable water bottles and take them with you when you head out to enjoy the beach or the surrounding area. On average, it requires twice as much water to produce a plastic water bottle as the amount contained in the bottle.
· Extend the lifecycle of your products. Nearly every product you buy requires water to produce or transport. Try to buy fewer single-use products and more products that last. And when you decide that product is no longer useful to you, consider donating it or recycling it instead of sending it to the landfill.