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It’s summer. It’s hot. But before you go ahead and run under the sprinkler to cool off, think about this – a typical lawn sprinkler uses about 24 gallons per minute. If I’ve done my math right (go ahead and check), a 15-minute cool down can use about 360 gallons of water. Summertime usually means a significant increase in water use and while there may or may not be water restrictions in your area, it’s always a good idea to conserve water wherever possible.
Water conservation not only saves money by reducing your water bill, but developing a water conservation habit also helps to keep the environment clean. The water that we use in our homes and businesses drains to local treatment plants before being discharged to nearby lakes and rivers. By being conscious of our water usage, we can reduce the overflow of water drainage that can lead to polluting our natural habitat.
Luckily for us, there are lots of ways to make small changes in our daily habits that can really add up to more than just a drop in the bucket. By now, most of us know to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, fix that leaky faucet and switch to low-flow showerheads. But did you also know that the clothes you wear and the food you eat contributes to your ‘water footprint’? A water footprint basically measures the amount of water it takes to make stuff – whether it’s a pair of your favorite jeans or that juicy burger – water makes it happen.
So, why not save water by going meatless a day or two per week? While water is needed to grow everything we eat, there are some foods that have a higher water footprint than others. For example, it takes approximately 460 gallons of water to make a ¼ pound of beef (that’s just one burger -without cheese! Or fries!) But that baked potato? Only 100 gallons, plus 13 gallons to top that potato off with broccoli and you’ve already saved 347 gallons of water. Go veggies!
For more super interesting information about your water footprint and other cool water facts, visit the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Science School at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/ or www.waterfootprint.org for a personal water footprint calculator. You can also visit the EPA’s WaterSense for other simple ways to conserve water at https://www.epa.gov/watersense/