Completely surrounding the two peninsulas that make up Michigan, the Great Lakes are one of the natural wonders of the world. You may think that the Great Lakes would provide an indefinite water supply, but the reality is we must be stewards of water conservation now to ensure we have enough water for the future.
Not only do we need to make sure there is enough accessible water, we also need it to be high quality, clean water. Pollution and environmental contamination in the Great Lakes watershed is putting this precious resource at risk. Water reclamation plants can only do so much to remove contaminants and over time our freshwater is becoming gradually more contaminated.
Where is all the freshwater going?
It is thought the average American uses up to 300 gallons of water per day, with most of that water use being indoors. Estimates from 2016 indicate that 72 gallons (24%) of indoor water use was attributed to flushing the toilet while another 60 gallons (20%) was used for showering. Although unintentional, an estimated 36 gallons (12%) of the 300 gallons used per day is lost due to leaks throughout American households/infrastructure.
What can we do to help at our homes?
There are plenty of actions you can take at home to help conserve water. Some have costs while others are absolutely free! Most of the actions will end up saving money over time. Here is a list of just a few things you can do to help:
- Install water saving shower and faucet heads
- Install an instant water heater in your sink so you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up
- Consider buying a dual flush toilet when replacing an existing toilet
- Use the washing machine and dishwasher only when they have full loads
- Fix leaky faucets – one drop every second adds up to 5 gallons of water a day!
- Put a float booster (or bottle of water) in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used in every flush
- Do not use your toilet as a wastebasket, even wipes labeled “flushable” cause problems down the line
- Reduce your shower time to 5 minutes or less
- Keep your grass longer; the shade it provides the roots will help reduce water lost due to evaporation
- Install a rain barrel to collect water from your gutter system. Use the water for gardening and washing your car.
- Wash your car on the lawn, the car gets cleaned and the lawn gets watered
This rain barrel is used to water garden spaces near the Discovery Center at PPZ
To learn how to calculate how much water your family uses, check out this website: https://www.epa.gov/water-sense/water-calculator
For even more ideas on how to save water, visit https://www.projectwater.info/100-ways-to-conserve-water.html