Sustainability - Green Notes

Using Water Responsibly: Tips and Tricks for students

Using Water Responsibly Every minute, of every hour, of every day, someone is using water. We need it as much as we need the air we breathe. However, like all of our resources on Earth, water is not infinite. The National Ground Water Association stated, “… only a small percentage (about 0.3%), is even usable by humans. The other 99.7 percent is in the oceans, soils, icecaps, and floating around in the atmosphere.” With 321 billion gallons of surface water used each day, and 77 billion gallons of groundwater, conservation is a rather large concern. Everyone contributes to water consumption, and it is up to everyone to contribute to water conservation. As a student on a college campus, water conservation might not be the first thing you are thinking about. Especially if you live on campus and use campus water, which some could say that isn’t your responsibility. However, it could be.  There are many ways you can conserve water as a student.

On average, an American uses about 82 gallons of water every single day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Ways to cut down on water consumption start at, but are not limited to, cutting down water usage when taking showers and brushing teeth. When researching different ideas and ways to cut down water use, I came across a website dedicated to this issue: “Water Use it Wisely.” The website is linked here, however I will list some of their tasks/ tips that I believe are great for students to incorporate into their lives.

Tip #1: Cooking Food in the minimum amount of water can not only save water, but keep your food nutritious. Students love noodles and pasta, trust me I know. The thing about cooking pasta is that a lot of people just estimate how much water they need. By looking at the instructions and using the directed amount of water will not only conserve water, but also help your noodles be cooked correctly and you will steer clear of soggy pasta… which nobody wants.

Tip #2: Washing dishes can be a nuisance, especially when there is water everywhere. How do you change that? When washing dishes, turn off your water as you are cleaning the dish, and only rinse when necessary. If you live in an apartment and have a dishwasher, most dishwashers can do the trick without you rinsing your dishes beforehand. So, instead of washing and then putting them in the dishwasher, just put them in the dishwasher. If you are taking them out and you spot a little bit of food on a dish, you can rinse that one. However overall, you will waste less water this way. 

Tip #3: I know we all love a good, warm shower… sadly these waste a lot, and I mean a lot, of water. If you time your shower to 5 minutes, you can save around 1,000 gallons of water each month.

Tip #4: Doing laundry and the dishes when the machines aren’t full can be very wasteful. Wait until they are both full to run a whole cycle. This habit can also save around 1,000 gallons of water each month. If you need a piece of clothing or a dish desperately, you can hand wash them while conserving water by only using water to get the item wet, and to rinse the soap out.

Tip #5: Students love to have plants to take care of, especially to make their dorm or apartment feel more like home. If you have hanging plants, a good way to water them and not waste any water is to put a couple of ice cubes on the top of the soil. 
These tips are ways to incorporate sustainability into your life, even if they are just small beginning steps. Obviously, it is understandable if one day you just really need a long, hot shower or you are in a rush and forget to turn your water off while rinsing a dish. This is more about trying to conserve water as much as you can, but also understanding you are human and routines and habits like this take time to understand.

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