(BPT) - Did you know it takes an estimated 97 gallons of water to create your pumpkin spice latte? What about the 4,700 gallons that go into making your family’s 16-pound holiday turkey?
This data from a recent report highlights just how much water is really needed to produce common items most Americans enjoy during the holidays. The report also found, when it comes to conservation, Americans are severely underestimating their water usage.
In fact, Americans estimate using less than 100 gallons per person each day, while the actual number is over 2,000, according to Water Footprint Network. These figures consider water that is consumed directly, like dishwashing or watering the lawn, and indirectly, like the water required to produce food eaten or the clothes you wear.
This lack of water usage knowledge extends to items they use every day, and not just the water they consume directly. For example, many believe it costs almost no water to produce a pair of jeans, but in reality, a brand new pair of jeans requires around 2,600 gallons.
Water scarcity affects every continent, and 1.42 billion people currently live in areas of water vulnerability, according to the United Nations, with more and more regions reaching their limit. This essential resource needs conservation, investment and ongoing education.
With that in mind, 9 out of 10 Americans are likely to try at least one new habit to conserve water next year. Would you like to join them? In honor of Imagine a Day Without Water on October 21, American Water offers some simple ways to do your part and reduce your water footprint.
1. Evaluate your daily water use
Spend a day being extra conscious of how you use water. How long are your showers? Do you let the tap run when you’re not using it? See if there are any ways to stop wasting water. With this knowledge, the report found 56% of Americans are likely to try to incorporate shortening their showers to the length of two songs, but only 8% currently do it. Try turning on some tunes and scrubbing up by the time two songs are complete to have fun while helping save H2O.
2. Don’t let the tap run
The most common, wasteful activity Americans do is leave the faucet on while brushing their teeth, with the report finding 1 in 5 do this every day. Assuming people are brushing their teeth twice a day for a minute each time, this would waste 3 gallons of water each day or 1.5 gallons each minute. With 20% of the U.S. adults doing this daily, that means around 149.9 million gallons of water are lost every day to this easily changeable task.
3. Use your dishwasher rather than hand wash
Washing dishes by hand can actually be more wasteful as you let the tap run. Simply scraping off the food scraps — instead of rinsing — and loading up your dishwasher can save gallons of water. Additionally, gather a full load of dishes before you start the dishwasher. This can save an average of 320 gallons of water per week.
4. Wait for a full laundry load
Being mindful of laundry habits can help clothes last longer and protect the planet. You can join 64% of Americans who are likely to try to incorporate waiting for a full load to do laundry into their daily lifestyle to conserve more water. Additionally, wear your clothes more than once and select the right cycle to save water and protect clothing.
5. Use an automatic shut-off hose
Because many people leave the hose running when washing their car at home, it is one of the most wasteful water activities. The report found Americans are doing this on average 2.6 times each month, which equates to 2,340 gallons of water lost per person per year. By adding an automatic shut-off nozzle to the end of your hose, you can save up to 5 gallons of water per minute.
6. Check for and fix leaks
Leaks around the house make up a significant part of wasted water each year. Do a regular evaluation of your faucet gaskets, shower heads and pipe fittings, examine the exterior of your home for dripping hoses and mushy sod, and check the leak indicator on your water meter.
7. Watch your water bill
Use your water bill as a tool to help keep you accountable. Each month, try to set a goal for reducing water use and check your progress on your next bill. Additionally, sudden spikes in a water bill can be an indicator of a new leak, so be mindful when quantity and costs go up.
8. Follow local water restrictions
Instead of watering beyond local restrictions, implement smart water habits from the start. Use a water-smart irrigation system, pay attention to weather conditions, and take advantage of the rain with rain barrels. Keep in mind, the best time to water your lawn and garden is typically in the early morning hours or after the sun goes down because it limits evaporation, meaning more water goes into the ground to help plants thrive.
9. Invest in high-efficiency appliances and fixtures
If you’re in the market for new home appliances or fixtures, look for Energy Star certified models. Your utility company may even offer incentives when you opt for a water-saving purchase. With this in mind, the report found 64% of Americans are likely to try to incorporate installing more eco-friendly appliances into their home to conserve more water, but only 7% currently do.
10. Spread the word
Although open to water-saving practices, Americans lose millions of gallons of water to wasteful habits. Share your knowledge about water efficiency and conservation with friends, family and neighbors. Even the smallest steps can go a long way.
American Water invites you to Imagine a Day Without Water and follow these tips to conserve such a precious and crucial resource. To learn more, visit amwater.com.