Use less water!

Marisa Iallonardo

Welcome to the last week of our Earth Month challenge here at KIWI! If you’ve been following along, you may have noticed that our original challenge for this week was to drive less. I had it all planned out: I was going to walk instead of drive from my apartment to the train station, where I catch my train to work.

But then things didn’t go exactly as planned.

I sprained my foot while running on Sunday and am now working from home—my left foot wrapped in an ice pack and propped up on a couple of pillows. Not the ideal condition for walking. Or going anywhere, really.

But on the bright side, we decided to go ahead with one of the original challenges we discussed back when we were deciding which to try: use less water.

I’m the first person to tell you that my showers are entirely too long and that I tend to use more water throughout the week then I need.  So from April 16 – 20, I’m going to be trying a variety of ways to use less water. Join me!

Check back for an update on how it’s going, as well as for tips on how you and your family can do it, too.

Day 3: Wednesday 

So it turns out that my foot is fractured, not sprained. As a result, I’ve been working from home since Monday. (Foot still propped up on pillows, but now wrapped in a bandage.)

The good news is that working from home has actually been great for this challenge. I’ve been able to try out—and keep up with—a few different water-saving techniques that would have been tough to do in the office.

I started the challenge by making sure to remember some of the usually-recommended ways to conserve water: I turned off the faucet while brushing my teeth and washing my face. And when I hobbled over to do laundry on Tuesday, I made sure there was no room for more clothes. (Thankfully, my apartment is small and it’s not too far from my desk to the bathroom, where our washer-dryer sits!).

I also spent time researching water-saving techiniques and came across the website for the Arizona-based campaign Water—Use it Wisely, which has over 100 different water-saving tips. They have a number of easy-to-incorporate ideas, like “Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.” (Check out more by clicking on the link.)

One that seemed super easy, and stood out to me in particular: “For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.”

I had never really thought about those few extra drops, but since my husband and I tend to drink only water, those drops add up in our house—fast.  So I pulled out a pitcher (pictured below) and filled it with water. With the exception of first thing this morning, when I totally blanked, I’ve been making sure to use and refill it.

The other big issue for me, as I mentioned on Monday, is my tendency towards long showers. After a couple days of trying and timing, I managed to cut down my usual 15-minute shower to 9 minutes. I’d still like to get it down further, though, so I’ll be aiming for that in the next couple days.

And as I was writing this, my husband came home and told me he tightened the valves under the bathroom sink so that less water comes out (it’s still enough pressure to brush teeth etc., of course).

I’m headed back into the office tomorrow, so stay tuned for how things go. And if you have any other tips I should try, let me know!

Day 5: Friday

I can’t believe it’s already Friday! This week has been such an eye-opener, both in realizing how much water I use, and in how easy it is to finding simple ways to cut back.

I’m happy to report that the saving technique I was most concerned with—shortening my showers—was a success. I started off at 15 minutes, cut it down to 9 by Wednesday, and this morning, I managed to be in and out in 6 minutes! While I don’t know if I’ll always be able to keep it that short, I definitely think 10 minutes and under is possible.

Here’s hoping once this foot is healed, I’ll be saving water and walking to the train station!

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

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