Let's Cherish the Gift of Water
Water. A very simple, sometimes free, commodity that we all take for granted. It also figures prominently in the theology of our faith being that substance used to symbolize our consecration to God’s family while scripture tells us that living water is ours for the asking.
Sixty percent of our bodies and 70 percent of our brains are comprised of water. Human survival without water can range from a few hours to a couple of weeks. Water cleans and restores our bodies and clothing. Seventy percent of the earth’s surface is covered with sea water. Food production is dependent on water. Suffice to say, water is essential to who we are in substance and form.
The average American family of four uses about 400 gallons of water per day with 84% of that amount going to the toilet, clothes washing, shower and faucet, in that order. As a nation, we are first in per capita water usage. Comparatively, we use almost four times as much water per capita as the British.
One in nine people on the planet, which is more than double the population of the U.S., lack access to an improved water source. Water and sanitation issues claim more lives than those lost at war. World population tripled in the 20th century while water usage rose sixfold. In our part of North Carolina, we are currently in a moderate drought.
Do we have a responsibility as Christians to use water wisely? Yes! Can we as Americans be more efficient? Yes! And, studies show that your household water and sewer expense can be reduced by more than 20% doing so. Here are some ideas. There are many more out there:
- Catch water from the kitchen sink and use it on indoor plants or garden. This is easily done with a pail near the sink.
- When no water is being used, read your water meter. Wait 30 minutes and take a second reading. If the meter readings change, you have a leak. Find it and fix it. A dripping faucet can waste 2700 gallons of water a year.
- Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet.
- Short showers use less water than tub baths. Shortening your shower by a minute or two saves up to 150 gallons per month.
- Check for toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. Color in the bowl within 30 minutes indicates a leak which can waste 200 gallons per day. Flush food coloring away immediately to avoid stains.
- If your toilet was installed before 1992, insert a displacement device in the tank. These can be made by you or purchased at the hardware store.
- Turn the water off while washing your face and brushing teeth.
- Run dishwashers only when full and soak pots and pans for faster clean up.
- Wash only full loads of laundry using proper water level selection.
- Install aerators with flow restrictors on your faucets.
- Raise your lawnmower blade height for multiple benefits.
- Naturalize areas of lawn using drought tolerant plantings.
- Do any necessary watering in morning or evening to reduce evaporation.
- Mulching aids in water retention and reduces weed growth.
Submitted by Helen Bushnell Beets for Earth Stewards Team, January 2013