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Reducing Your Water Footprint

For seven weeks during my recent sermon series we got a chance to raise our “Water IQ” by seeing this precious resource through God’s eyes. Here are a few conservation tips that can be lived out in our personal lives:

• Use a low-flow showerhead. It saves about 15 gallons of water during a 10 minute shower! After a year of daily showering, that adds up to almost 5,500 gallons.

• Showers save more water than baths. A bath uses approximately 10 gallons more water than a 10 minute shower.

• Changing your faucets saves water and money. Standard faucets flow at 3-7 gallons of water per minute, while lowflow faucets flow as low as 1.5 gallons.

• Turning off the water when you brush your teeth saves 2-5 gallons of water each time you brush. For a family of four, this could add up to over 10,000 gallons per year!

• “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Every time you flush, you allow 3.5-6 gallons of water to go down the drain, so “letting it mellow” a few times a day saves thousands of gallons of water per year.

• Energy Star dishwashers use about 4 gallons of water per load, and even standard machines only use about 6 gallons. Since hand-washing generally uses about 20 gallons of water, dishwashers can be huge water-savers.

• Meat and dairy products are especially water-intensive (animals consume drinking water and feed, which is made from crops grown w/water). An easy way to reduce your water footprint is to simply eat less meat and dairy.

• When you drink from disposable plastic bottles you consume more water. The plastic used to make the average 16-32 ounce water bottle requires over 1.5 gallons of water to produce.

• Drink tap water instead of bottled. If you’re concerned about the quality of tap water, there are many water filter options available.

• The average American can save over 10 gallons of water per day by recycling plastic.

• Recycling a pound of paper, less than the weight of an average newspaper, saves about 3.5 gallons of water.

• It takes about 100 gallons of water to grow and process a single pound of cotton, and the average American goes through about 35 pounds of new cotton material each year. Every time you throw away an old towel, shirt or blanket, you’re flushing gallons down the drain. Instead donate them, reuse them as rags or take them to a textiles recycling center.

Remember that the average American uses 100 gallons of water at home every day, while many throughout the world make do with 2½ gallons.

Our cups overflow,