Taking Control of Water

Outside shower at sunset

This may not come as a surprise, but I cannot alter the fate of the global financial system. This has led me to focus on what I do have power over. The first point of action is that I have moved up a resolution that I was holding for 2009. Starting now, I am going to use less water.

It’s more difficult than it sounds, and not just because I love a long, hot shower in the cold, short days of winter. According to one website, H2Oconserve.org, I use more than 1,000 gallons a day. That shocking number is due to the fact that I’m not a vegetarian. The calculator, however, does not allow me to fine tune my food choices. I’m not really a voracious carnivore, but it’s true I had homemade chicken soup for dinner last night.

Another water calculator by National Wildlife Federation puts my personal use at a more modest 53 gallons a day. That does not account for my affinity for eating chicken. It does offer some suggestions, such as low-flow toilets and an aerator for faucets. Seems like a drop in the bucket when the other 900-plus gallons are coming from agriculture.

I guess the next step is to have a chat with the farmer I’m buying my poultry from at the farmer’s market. Maybe he’s trying to save water too. Even for those of us that live in a place with a steady supply of water, this is no time to be complacent. Freshwater compromises about 3 percent of the water on this planet. Water conservation involves enforcing regulations, protecting forests, and finding more efficient ways to grow enough food to feed an ever-expanding population. For now, I’m taking shorter showers. I even have a timer to keep me honest. Next stop: faucet aerators.

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