Water is one of the planet’s most precious resources. All living things need water to grow and survive. We need water to keep our grass green, to wash our clothes, and for our daily shower or bath.
You might look at a globe or map of the world and think there’s plenty of water to go around. In fact, about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is water. But did you know that most of it—97 percent—is too salty to drink? Or that another two percent is frozen in glaciers at the North and South Poles? If you add it all up, you might be surprised: only one percent of the world’s water supply is available for humans to use.
Try this activity: use a water tap to fill a measuring cup to the one-cup mark. That water represents all the water we have on Earth. Now, water your plants until your measuring cup has just three millilitres left. Water your plants with two more millilitres. What’s left in the cup is what humans have left for drinking, washing, swimming, and growing plants.
We can’t make water in a factory or lab—what we already have is all we’ll ever have. It’s the same water the dinosaurs used! That’s why we need to use water wisely or conserve it—because we don’t want it to run out. Sometimes we’re wasteful without even realizing that we aren’t using water sustainably, which means using it responsibly, so it lasts longer.
Here’s a few questions to help you discover if you’re a water saver or spender:
When you’re brushing your teeth at home, do you leave the water running, or turn off the taps until you need it?
If you can’t finish the water in your bottle, do you spill it in the sink or use it to water your plants?
When your family washes clothes in the washing machine or turns on the dishwasher, are the machines always full, or are they half-empty?
Did you uncover you’re a water spender? Or a saver?
The good news is that there are lots of easy ways to become better water savers. We can all do more to waste less. Are you doing a good job at conserving already? Are there areas where you can do better?
Here are some easy steps you can take to improve your water habits:
1. Run the tap water only when you need it—turn it off while you’re brushing your teeth or scrubbing the dishes. A running tap can pour out seven to 12 litres a minute!
2. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when it’s full, not half-empty.
3. Try not to fill the bathtub to the top with water or take a shower instead. The shorter the shower, the more you save—especially if you keep it to under 10 minutes.
4. Fix leaky taps in the kitchen and check the washrooms and hose for leaks. Dripping taps are huge water wasters. By fixing a leaky tap, you can save up to 300 litres of drinking water a week. If your toilet is leaking, it can waste up to 2,500 litres of water a day.
5. Turn off the hose when you’re washing the car or gardening outside. A typical garden hose pours out 38 litres of water per minute! Turning off the tap can save a lot of water.
6. When washing dishes or vegetables in the kitchen sink, plug the sink and use the water in the basin, rather than letting the tap run.
7. Fill re-usable water bottles with tap water, rather than relying on single-use plastic water bottles. Disposable water bottles are a waste. In fact, it takes seven litres of water to produce one litre of bottled mineral water. It also adds tons of greenhouse gas emissions to the air, contributing to global warming. Plus, plastic fills our landfills, pollutes our water supply and harms our sea life.
8. Get involved. Participate in Drinking Water Week (May), Earth Day (April) and World Water Day (March). Share new knowledge with your school or workplace by educating your peers, creating posters, and through newsletters.
Every small step taken, and every drop saved, is one for this and future generations. Join us here at GROHE as we respect and work to conserve water, a most precious resource.