Phew! We survived the drought. Without watering our lawns, irrigating our crops and doing all the recreational activities that stretch our water reserves during the summer months, we can breathe a little easier.
The last thing we need to do, given predictions of a warm winter on its way, is let our guard down. Conserving water is a year-round effort, especially during the holidays as we throw ourselves into the season’s festivities.
The simplest things, such as rinsing your vegetables over a bowl and later using the nutrient-laden water to irrigate your houseplants, can make a difference. (Bonus: the plants help improve your air quality and mood!)
Here are a few other things you can try:
• Thaw your turkey – and other frozen foods – in the fridge rather than running them under warm water. Speaking of turkey, when you’re done boiling your potatoes and other veggies, set the water aside. You can use it to add another layer of flavor to your stuffing, and, once you’ve carved your turkey, you can add the carcass to it for a flavorful broth for soup the next day.
• If water is your beverage of choice, fill pitchers of it and chill before the big day. It saves running the faucet until the water’s cold. As long as you keep them full, you’re always prepared. Did you know an open faucet can use four gallons of water a minute?!
• With friends and family gathering around – possibly including overnight guests – you’ll want to make sure your dishwasher and washing machine are running full loads. If you must wash a few things – you’ve run out of forks just as you’re bringing out the pumpkin pie – fill the sink with soapy water for a quick wash and another sink (or tub) for a quick rinse.
• Use scraps to feed that compost heap in the back yard rather than running a steady stream of water – and fats – down the drain running the garbage disposal.
• When working on your Christmas list, consider a gift that keeps on giving. Can Grandma and Grandpa use water-saving aerators on their faucets? Or how about gifting the new home owners on your list with a rain barrel?
• Finally, it is said that finding and fixing leaks in our water system saves several times our best conservation efforts. A single drip each second can add up to 3,000 gallons of water lost in a year.