WaterWater Conservation

How to Reduce Your Water Footprint on Your Homestead

A crucial step in the journey to sustainability is reducing the amount of water you use.  The best thing you can do is simply utilise less than you do now. While it’s easily said, it can be challenging to know where to start.

Water is a precious resource and should be conserved when possible. The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water every day. The two most prominent uses of water are toilet flushing and showering. There’s only so much freshwater available for every person throughout the world.

The gallons you use each day add up. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater that you can use for your daily needs. If you’re ready to focus on conservation, here’s how to reduce your water footprint on your homestead.



Take Shorter Showers

Shower Head
Image by Pixabay, Pexels.

Showers are generally more efficient than baths, but they still use a lot of water. For every minute you spend in the shower, you’re using about 2.5 gallons.  Efficient shower-heads can limit this amount, though.  Either way, after a 10-minute shower, you’ve used anywhere up to 25 gallons.

A simple way to reduce your water footprint is to spend less time in the shower. However, there’s an even better way — military showers. This method requires you to turn off your shower head while soaping up and only turning it on when you need to rinse.

Many people also wait for their water to heat up before stepping in the shower. This water can be collected in a bucket and used for other purposes.



Run a Full Dishwasher

Dishwashers, believe it or not, use less water than washing dishes by hand. Usually, people continuously run the water for rinsing. A dishwasher limits the amount of water used and can clean and rinse dishes all at once.

When you run your dishwasher, make sure it’s a full load. That way, you’re not wasting an entire cycle on just a few plates and cups. You’re getting the most out of the water usage.



Use Leftover Water for Your Plants

What do you do with leftover pasta water, fish tank water, or what falls into the sink after washing fruits and vegetables? Instead of letting it all go down the drain, use it to water your houseplants.

Any water that doesn’t have chemicals in it should be safe for your plants. Fish tank water, for example, is full of nutrients that will be beneficial for your non-edible plants. Pasta water is perfectly safe for your edible plants. This limits the amount of freshwater you need to use.



Wash Clothes Less Frequently

You probably don’t need to wash your clothes as often as you do. Being judicious about how often you launder them limits water use and gives your wardrobe an extended lifespan.

Additionally, when you do wash your clothes, use cold water instead of hot. Heating water uses a lot of energy. It also helps if you use energy-efficient appliances.



Compost Your Toilet Waste

Compost Toilet
Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Yes, that’s right — you can reduce your water footprint on your homestead by composting your toilet waste! The best way to do this is by installing a composting toilet, which neutralises human waste and pulls nutrients from it so you can use it as fertiliser for your garden.

Composting toilets eliminate the need to flush, therefore conserving water. Plus, you get free compost for your garden. Whether you purchase an all-in-one system or make your own, you’ll be reducing water usage.



Keep Animals and Chemicals Away From Freshwater

If you own cattle or any other farm animals and live near a freshwater source, like a lake or stream, keep them away from it. When livestock have continued access to water, they contaminate it. It then becomes agricultural runoff.

The same goes for products used in farming like herbicides and pesticides. When it rains or snow melts, these chemicals run over the soil and into waterways. Agricultural runoff adds to your water footprint.



Turn Off the Tap

Finally, you can reduce your homestead’s water footprint by turning off the tap during your personal hygiene routine. People tend to leave the water running when washing their face, shaving or brushing their teeth. This wastes water.

Instead, turn off the tap when you’re not directly using it. You could up to 200 gallons of water a month just by shutting it off while brushing your teeth.


Conserving Water Leads to a Smaller Footprint

Reducing your water footprint begins with small steps toward sustainability. Conserving water is good for the planet, and over time, it will save you energy and money.

By shifting your mindset to the importance of having freshwater and conserving it, you can drastically decrease your footprint.

Jane Marsh

Jane writes on environmental sustainability, agriculture and gardening. She also works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co.

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