a blog by J.M. Cottle
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Seven ways to save water (and not be a jerk)

Living in southern California, you hear a lot about the drought. We are in a desert area and we pump our water in from Colorado or something, which is absurd, but that’s the kind of world this is.

Absurdity aside, it has rained about three times this entire year, so saving water should be on everyone’s minds. Even if you don’t live in a desert, water is important! Everyone should be careful with it and try not to waste it. (Like those people standing outside at 3pm, in the hottest part of the day, watering their lawns and flooding the sidewalk. Oh my god stop! Stop it! There are so many things wrong with this picture!)

Now, the people who are really wasting the most water are companies, not individuals, but that doesn’t mean we should all slack off. We can still do our part. Here are some small ideas to help you save water every day in your own home.

  1. When you shower, put a bucket under the faucet to catch any water you don’t use. This can be used for various household chores later.
  2. Also in the shower, turn off the water while you’re scrubbing yourself and your hair. You only need the water to get wet at the beginning and to rinse off at the end. Anything else is an indulgence, and now that I live in an area in perpetual drought, indulgence with water is wasteful.
  3. Instead of doing loads of laundry in the washing machine all the time, just wash the things that are actually dirty every week or so, like underwear. Pants and shirts can stand to be worn many times before they start to smell. Hand washing saves water and electricity. Use the water you caught in your bucket from showering!
  4. Another good use for your bucket of shower water is flushing the toilet. If you pour it in slowly, the toilet will flush itself without pulling any new water from the pipes! Make sure to keep a little bit in the bucket so that when it finishes flushing, you can put in a few inches so the toilet bowl isn’t empty. (Thanks to my sister for teaching me this.)
  5. Only flush the toilet when it’s going to be smelly. If what’s in there is clear or pale colored, it isn’t going to smell, so don’t waste the flush.
  6. Leaving the bathroom and moving on to the kitchen: when washing dishes, use a bowl or something as a basin for your hot water and don’t leave the faucet running. You can wash lots of dishes with very little water.
  7. When washing your hands or brushing your teeth, use the same method as in the shower. Turn the water on for a second to get your hands or brush wet, turn it off while you scrub, then turn it on again to rinse.

Maybe you live in a place where there’s a lot of rain and you don’t think about your water use. That used to be me, so I get it. Just remember that we’re the privileged ones, and that lots of people don’t have such easy access to water as us. Try not to be a jerk. Save water where you can.

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