Saving Water. The New Normal
Even though we’re well into fall and the hot weather has mostly subsided, we’re still in the midst of a severe drought in Southern California. Yes, we’ve had a little bit of rain lately, but here are some hard facts:
- We are currently living in the state’s driest period ever recorded in California
- California is most likely heading into a fourth consecutive year of this drought
- The state faces a hotter and drier reality as global warming intensifies droughts
I blog a lot about this topic and talk about it even more. That’s because, at BLISS, we call ourselves “Water Warriors” with a mission to save our planet’s most precious resource. We post about it on our social media channels and practice savings in our business operations.
I agree with many experts that we must stop thinking about the Southern California drought as temporary and, instead, change our behaviors as if they were permanent. As we respond to climate change and its realities, we must adapt to a hotter and drier life here.
Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to conserve water with simple lifestyle changes. Here are three simple things to consider:
- Drought-resistant gardening. According to the EPA’s WaterSense program, outdoor watering accounts for almost 30 percent of household water use. Xeriscaping is a landscape design style that uses very little irrigation and is excellent for our arid region. Plants native to our area often use less water and are best adapted to natural growing conditions. Think of beautiful succulent gardens for inspiration.
- Watch What You Eat. Cutting down on consumption of meat helps a lot. For example, a 1/3-pound burger requires 660 gallons of water to produce. One pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water, which includes irrigation of the grains and grasses in feed, plus water for drinking and processing. One pound of pork requires 576 gallons of water!
- Energy-efficient appliances. When you can, update household appliances to be energy and water-efficient. New appliances require an up-front expense, but you can wait until old ones need replacing and then make sure you’re purchasing dishwashers and washing machines that conserve water. ENERGY STAR-certified dishwashers are about 15 percent more water-efficient than standard models and are quieter, too. ENERGY STAR washing machines use about 20 percent less energy and about 30 percent less water than regular washers.
- Save Water in the Bathroom. Bathrooms account for more than half of all indoor water use. An 8 minute shower = 17 gallons of water. But advances in plumbing technology mean you can upgrade faucets, showers, and toilets that use much less water than older models. Look for fixtures with the WaterSense label, indicating they meet EPA’s water-saving standards. You also can take shorter showers!
Climate experts say that the actions that we take now will be important for our future. Accepting that our precious natural resources cannot be taken for granted is sinking in for most people. We’re lucky that we can make changes without much inconvenience or expense. The more water we save, the more money we save.
I always will marvel at and celebrate the power of human beings as we come together and create change. We’re in a crisis now, but we can reverse things with our behavioral changes and commitments to reversing a downward trend.
I hope you’ll join us at BLISS and become a Water Warrior.