Bona Fide Disputes

5 easy easy ways I’m saving water because I want to live…with water

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California is in an exceptional drought – the most extreme level according to The National Drought Mitigation Center (yes, that’s a real thing).  I think we’re all aware of this fact, but did you also know that California isn’t the only state experiencing drought conditions?  California may be suffering, but everyone else should start taking  precautionary measures.   I’ll just state the obvious: we need water to live.

 

California has been hit hard…but it’s not alone

The entire west coast is experiencing drought conditions.

Here’s the short and sweet reality: Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah and Washington all just experienced their driest June in 121 years (that’s how long ago we started tracking this stuff).  Across the board the west coast is experiencing abnormally to exceptional drought conditions.  See the below graph for a scary visual.  Bright yellow represents abnormally dry and at the other end of the scale is exceptionally dry represented by dark red.  Weather fluctuates and changes (and hopefully California will experience the Godzilla El Nino the weather peeps are predicting) but this isn’t just a California problem.  The entire west coast is starting to turn yellow (much of it is already orange) and if there’s anything humans can’t live without (I’ll say it again for emphasis) it’s water.  We take it for granted. Every. Single. Day.

If I lived in any of the states listed above and shown below, I would start taking precautionary measures to make sure my home doesn’t end up like California – which is, in the words of Michael Scott, basically experiencing a  Threat Level Midnight situation.  To start,  I am changing my water usage habits.

drought in western united states

Super Scary Graph credit: United States Drought Monitor data for July 7, 2015

 

I present the 5 easy ways I’m saving water

1. Finish your water at restaurants and encourage your friends to do the same

When I eat out – which is several times a week  – I always finish my water and encourage everyone else to do the same.  With people I know well, I order them to do it.  Nicely.  I doubt they’re getting their eight glasses of water a day anyway.  By the way, don’t be a smart ass and say you’re just not going to drink water to save water.  Not cool dude.  You need water to live.  Hence: this blog post.

If you work at a restaurant in California please actually follow the state-wide mandatory water laws  instated April 2015 which requires all restaurants to not serve water unless requested.  During brunch today the server brought everyone water and not everyone wanted water.  Drove us all crazy.  We complained.

I should add Start a petition to have your state demand the same water laws as California to this list of easy things to do. Hint hint.  Honestly, why isn’t this a nationwide effort?  Why bring water to people if they’re not going to drink it?  We’re Americans – we’ll ask for water if we want it.   How many times have you been out to eat and seen nearly full glasses of water left at deserted tables?  It’s despicable and needs to stop.  More importantly, if you ask for it – drink it!  If the server pours you more  – drink it!  Or politely tell them to stop pouring.

Bonus: Start a petition to have your state demand the same water laws as California

I had to add it.

 

2. Collect your shower water and water your plants.  It’s so easy a trained pig could do it

I’m not insulting pigs…pigs are incredibly intelligent.   Just like one of the most intelligent animals on earth – which includes you (I hope) – collecting shower water is easy-peasy to make into a habit.  My mother began collecting shower water long ago when this drought first began (she’s such a trendsetter) and uses it to water the trees, plants and garden.  Luckily my new roommate was already collecting shower water in a 3 gallon bucket.  This made it all too easy for me to save water.  Something about finding a container…ugh… and putting it in your shower… just sounds like too much work, right?  Now every other day I get to carry a 3 gallon bucket down the stairs and build muscles.  Oh yeah, and water our plants instead of using the hose. Win-win!

Once you begin collecting, you will quickly learn how much water you are wasting and immediately feel guilty about it (if you’re a person with a conscience).  When I first started collecting water I took my time while it was heating up by doing other things like brushing my teeth.  Before I knew it the bucket was over-flowing.  Three gallons – just like that! *snap*   I put a stop to that real quick.  After learning I’m such a water-waster,  I don’t do anything except maybe grab a towel while the water is heating up.   And guess what?  Nowadays I don’t even fill up half the bucket before hopping in.  But I can do better.   Like, setting a goal to shower under 3 minutes – a daunting challenge.

3. Turn the shower off while shampooing your hair

For me this one is the most difficult.  I hate it.   I’m one of those people who doesn’t like being in a shower without water running all over me constantly.  It makes me feel gross and clammy.  Then I hear my mother’s voice in my head and I suck it up and turn the water off while I’m soaping up my hair.  This one is definitely not a habit yet, but I’m working on it because based on how much water I’m collecting while the shower is heating up, I can only imagine how much is going down the drain un-used when I’m shampooing my relatively long and fairly thick hair.

4. Take back 10 days of your life: Run the dish washer whenever possible

I’ve broken this up into five points because it’s a ton of (great) info:

1. If you don’t have a dishwasher, I am so sorry.  You’re missing out on nearly 10 days of your life.  No, seriously.  ENERGY STAR actually did the math.  Even though we don’t all own this specific brand dishwasher, any dishwasher will change your life.  Here’s the dealio (according to The Washington Post): on average, you would need to wash eight place settings while only running the facet for less than two minutes to match the energy and water saving capabilities of a dishwasher.  I don’t know about you, but most facets I’ve dealt with don’t even get hot in under one minute.  That leaves one minute to fill the sink and with eight place settings?  Hmm…seems to me that there would be a need to empty and refill the sink because otherwise we’re washing with dirty water.  Defeats the purpose wouldn’t you say?  Dishwasher is already winning. You = 0.  Dishwasher = 1.

2. The Washington Post made another important point:  Most of us can’t handle the hot temperatures needed to wash dishes properly.  And then there are some of us how who get dishpan hands.  Not fun.  Cracking, bleeding, orange hands.  I know from experience. Skip the time and wasted water. Fill ‘er up!

3. What’s with the people who basically wash their dishes and THEN put them in the washer.  It drives me nuts.  They say they’re wary of their washer’s cleansing capabilities.  Maybe it’s time to upgrade people!  It will save money and time – just think about what you could do with 230 hours (or as I said before, nearly 10 days)!

4. For precious pots and sacred knives wash a bunch of them at one time instead of sporadically so that you’re not running water each time you want to wash a knife.  Use less dishes while cooking by strategically reusing items.  Make sure to get a sink stopper.  Fill up the sink, add your soap and then turn off the facet.  Or at least turn it super low if you don’t have the advantage of having a second sink to rinse.

5. Remember: Don’t run an almost filled dishwasher.  Only run it when it’s full!  Otherwise you’re just wasting water…again.  Knowing how to properly load a dish-washer is also a skill that I’ve found most people do not have.  If you’re one of those people, step it up and learn! Mother Earth will benefit from your newly-found skill.

 

5. Install an aerator on all your facets and save up to one gallon of water per minute (wow!)

Check this out.  I got this at the California State Fair at the Save Our Water booth, which I must say was one of the coolest booths there.  I learned a ton about saving water and they gave me this free aerator, which can save up to one gallon of water per minute.

I don’t need to do any more explaining.  Just go get one.  Or two. Get one for every facet in your house!

20150712_202658

small but mighty.

 20150712_132221

See?  It’s easy to make good water-saving habits

For more mind-blowingly easy water-saving tips, check out Save Our Water.  They make it fun and simple to learn ways we can all save our most precious commodity.  And like I said, if you’re not in a drought yet count your lucky stars.  We take water for granted in this country.  It’s time to give it the respect it deserves before we all end up like California.

What other ways are you saving water? Share them in the comments below! Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter. Thank you!


 

[mla-start]

Dr. Chris.  “How To Prevent ‘Dishpan Hands’ Dermatitis (Eczema).”  HealthyHype.com. 10 June 2015. <http://www.healthhype.com/how-to-prevent-dishpan-hands-dermatitis-eczema.html>.

ENERGY STAR.  “Dishwasher vs. hand washing dishes.” ENERGY STAR. 2015. Web. 10 June 2015. <https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=dishwash.pr_handwash_dishwash>.

Mooney, Chris. “Why you shouldn’t wash your dishes by hand.” The Washington Post, 5 May 2015. Online. 10 June 2015. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/05/05/why-you-shouldnt-wash-your-dishes-by-hand/>

The National Drought Mitigation Center. “U.S. Drought Monitor.” The National Drought Mitigation Center,  7 June 2015. Online. 10 June 2015. <http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu>.

Rogers, Paul. “California: New mandatory water conservation rules for lawns, hotels, restaurants.” San Jose Mercury News. San Jose Mercury News, 18 March 2015. Online. 11 June 2015. <http://www.mercurynews.com/drought/ci_27729990/california-drought-state-passes-mandatory-new-water-conservation>.

Save Our Water. “Explore how you can save water.” Save Our Water. Honey Agency, 2015. Online. 10 June 2015. <http://saveourwater.com/what-you-can-do/tips/>.

Scott, Michael. “Threat Level Midnight.”  NBC Universal, 31 March. 2014.  Online. 10 June 2015. <http://www.threatlevelmidnight.com>

Viegas, Jennifer. “IQ Tests Suggest Pigs Are Smart as Dogs, Chimps.”  Discovery News. Discovery Communications, LLC, 11 June 2015. Online. 10 June 2015. <http://news.discovery.com/animals/iq-tests-suggest-pigs-are-smart-as-dogs-chimps-150611.htm>.[mla-end]

1 Comment

  1. Mireya

    October 11, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    Thank you for your excellent article.

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