Around the world, 2.2 billion people lack access to drinking water that is truly safe. Meanwhile, nearly half the global population is already living in potential water scarce areas at least one month per year. While, the U.S. population has doubled over the past 50 years, our thirst for water has tripled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, with the “water footprint” of an average American equaling more than 2,000 gallons of water per day. Because clean water is a scarcity for many people, we need to all do our part to reduce our water footprint.
In addition to expanding access to safe, clean drinking water, especially for vulnerable populations, more sustainable global water practices help prevent pollution of natural bodies of water, mitigate the impact of increasing climate variability, and minimize energy usage. The best way you can personally help achieve more sustainable water practices is through conservation. Below are some tips for cutting back and contributing to a more water-sustainable Earth.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and shaving. You can save 8 gallons of water per day while brushing and 10 gallons of water per shave.
- Wait for a full load of dishes. This can eliminate one load of dishes per week and save the average family nearly 320 gallons of water
- Take shorter showers. Bathrooms account for the largest water consumption percentage in homes. Showers alone use 5 gallons of water per minute.
- Wash clothes responsibly Not everyone has the time or ability to handwash their clothes. But, by wearing clothes more than once, waiting for a full load and selecting the right cycle, you can save water.
- Check for leaks. Household leaks can lead to about 900 billion gallons of water waste annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of nearly 11 million homes.
- Drink tap water. By cutting out single-use plastic water bottles, you are conserving plastic and the energy use and pollution that come with it.
At the end of the day, the way we handle and use water determines how sustainable it is. The process starts at the top — with companies like American Water doing our job right — and trickles down to consumer practices. As a company, we are proud how far we’ve come. American Water was recently listed on Corporate Knight’s 2020 Global 100 index of the world’s most sustainable companies. But, as the only water utility to make the list, we know there is still a long way to go before we live in a world that is completely water sustainable.