You might be used to thinking about your carbon footprint—but what about your water footprint? Even if you assume you don’t use that much H20, a quick glance at the stats suggests otherwise. Scrubbing your dishes by hand? That can take between 8-27 gallons per session. Washing your hands and face? There’s a gallon gone. Your morning shave? There goes another. Overall, the average person uses between 80-100 gallons of water per day—and in the scorching summer months, that figure can soar even higher.
When it comes to cutting down on your water footprint, every drop counts.
That’s why now is the perfect time to cut down on your water use. Begin with these five simple steps to save water in your apartment, from speeding up your showers to choosing the right houseplants. Every little bit helps: With rising temps, more frequent droughts, and the effects of climate change beginning to hit our cities, sustainable water habits are more important to cultivate than ever before.
SHORTEN YOUR SHOWER
To save water, shorter showers are key.
Sure, showering is more efficient than drawing a bath (that uses up a whopping 36 gallons of water, on average). But if you like to linger as you lather, there are simple ways you can change up your routine and waste less H20.
Love singing in the shower? Make yourself a playlist, get a waterproof speaker, and time your hair washing to your fave tunes. While you’re at it, use water only when you need it, and turn off the tap between lathers. In the summer, a colder shower is likely to refresh you, while the extra adrenaline should speed you through your shampooing routine. If you still need more help keeping your sudsing sustainable, installing a low-flow showerhead is one of the simplest steps to save water.
CHANGE OUT YOUR METER
Swap out your old water meter for a shiny, new, smart one.
It can be hard to save water when you can’t be sure how much you (or your roomies) use every month. That’s where data steps in. The Hydroid Meter is an excellent example of what smart meters can do: like a Fitbit for your H20, it offers flow monitoring, helps you locate leaks, and does it all in real time, with stats that can be tracked in a companion app.
On a larger scale, more cities than ever are seeing the value in smart meters. From California to Santa Fe, the UK to Singapore, global governments are beginning to take the tech—and its water-saving potential—seriously.
CHANGE YOUR LAUNDRY GAME
Doing one big load of laundry is more efficient than lots of small loads.
Good news, procrastinators: turns out it’s way more sustainable to do one single, large load of laundry than lots of smaller ones. Consider this your permission, then, to space out the time between loads (and while you’re at it, save electricity by hang-drying your clothes—with the summer heat, they should dry in less than a day).
And while most renters don’t have power over their appliances, if you’re renovating or in the process of getting a place of your own, look out for Energy Star washing machines. They won’t just use roughly 33% less water than older models—they’ll save you cash on your bills, too.
PLAN FOR YOUR PLANTS
Look for houseplants that have low water needs. (Bonus points if they’re on-trend.)
In the summer, you aren’t the only one who’s thirsty: your plants are, too. If you’ve committed to the houseplant craze and want to cultivate an at-home jungle of your own, look for succulents, cacti, and other plants that are specially adapted to arid conditions.
Lucky enough to have your own garden? Water your lawn and any outdoor plants in the evening or early morning, when the droplets are more likely to penetrate the soil without evaporating first. Even better: install a water meter directly on your hose so you can track every last drop.
SIMPLE STEPS TO SAVE WATER
The biggest step you can take to save water? Simply practicing awareness, every time you turn on the tap. Don’t keep the faucet running while you’re brushing your teeth, only boil the amount of water you really need for tea and coffee, and plug the sink when washing dishes by hand. All these small changes to your daily habits can add up to a big difference in your water bill—and, even more importantly, your city’s water supply.