7 Ways to Reduce
Your Water Usage

Meaghan Weeden | March 20, 2020 | 4 min read

In 1993, the UN established March 22nd as World Water Day to celebrate water and raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. In an effort to tackle the global water crisis and support the 6th UN Sustainable Development Goal (water and sanitation for all by 2030), UN-Water sets yearly themes and educates millions of people around the world about how to reduce their water consumption.

The UN World Water Day 2020 theme is all about the link between water and climate change. The campaign aims to help humanity reduce water waste and, by extension, improving health and saving lives. While most World Water Day events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus, there are still plenty of ways that you can participate from the safety of your home.


1. Take a 5 minute shower

Taking shorter showers is a great way to preserve water, and it should save you money, too. Not ready to give up your 15 minute morning karaoke session? Consider this: the average showerhead uses 2 1/2 gallons of water every minute. Multiply that by 15 and you’ve wasted about 38 gallons of water before you’ve even stepped out your front door! But your water takes a while to heat up you say? Consider keeping a special bucket in your bathroom and filling it up until the water reaches a comfortable temperature. Use what you’ve collected to water your plants or for cleaning projects.

Meatless Monday

2. Give Meatless Monday a chance

Terrified of tofu? Fear not: it’s 2020 and the options are endless. Legumes like lentils and chickpeas are delicious, planet-friendly alternatives to meat. Consider swapping out the ground meat for lentils in your tacos or bolognese, or whipping up a big batch of chickpea masala. Do this just 1 day each week and you’ll be saving the approximately 350 gallons of water used to produce the average meat-based meal. 

Electronic Devices

3. Unplug your electronics

You already know that the generation of electricity is fossil-fuel intensive, but did you know that a whopping 90% of power generation is also highly water intensive? Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to lower your impact right now: unplug and turn off electronic devices that are not being used. That’s it! The impacts could show up on your next electricity bill: phantom power usage accounts for 1/4 of usage in the average household.

Don't waste food

4. Don’t waste food

As you might imagine, industrial agriculture requires a LOT of water. But did you know that around 1/3 of all food produced is lost or wasted? The good news is that wasting less food can have a real impact on water waste, too. Consider starting a compost, meal planning, or even growing more food from veggie scraps. You can also check out our blog post on how to reduce waste for more zero-waste living tips.

Shop sustainably

5. Shop sustainably

1 pair of jeans produced the conventional way eats up approximately 10,000 liters of water. Consider that 1 person would need 10 years to drink that much—and that 5.7 billion people will experience water scarcity by 2050—and you see the problem. So consider doing a hands-off clothing swap, supporting recycled or sustainable brands, or treating yourself to a thrift-store shopping spree once it is safe to do so. You’ll likely find that you end up with unique, high-quality items for a fraction of the price you’d normally pay. 

Break bad habits

6. Break bad habits

While we 100% advocate for washing your hands thoroughly and often, we don’t recommend letting your faucet run while you’re lathering up. So grab the soap, sing a song, and follow CDC guidelines to your hearts content, but switch off the water faucet until you’re ready to rinse! The same goes for washing dishes, brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face. Doing this will save hundreds of gallons a month. And if you have to rinse veggies in a colander, consider placing a bowl underneath and reusing the water on your houseplants or for cleaning projects.

plant trees with One Tree Planted

7. Consider planting trees with us! 

Trees are vital partners in the face of water scarcity and climate change: they protect against storm surges, absorb flow of water, slow-release water vapor, retain soil moisture, and hold the soil together. What’s not to love?

We hope that these tips will leave you feeling confident in your ability to reduce your water usage.

Curious about how we’re addressing water scarcity and climate change by planting trees in impacted regions? Check out our current tree planting projects!

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. For Treecember, we're planting trees that support a global forest fire recovery fund. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Reforest lands damaged by record-setting fires
  • Support healthy habitat for iconic biodiversity
  • Plant tree species that will help reduce future fire impact
  • This holiday season, we’re planting trees in areas around the world that have been severely affected by forest fires and aren't able to recover a healthy ecosystem on their own. The most common naturally-caused wildfires occur during droughts or dry weather, and under these circumstances, trees and other vegetation are converted to flammable fuel. Human-caused forest fires can be a result of various activities like unregulated slash and burn agriculture, equipment failure or engine sparks, and discarded cigarettes.

    After wildfires, reforestation is essential in areas where the fire intensity burned off available seed supply within the soil, and/or where there are not enough healthy trees still growing and producing new seeds nearby. Reforestation starts once professional assessments have been made to determine where human intervention would be the most ecologically beneficial. Help restore these vital ecosystems by planting a tree. 🌿
  • Every year, forest fires are increasing in size and severity, damaging vital ecosystems and creating a need for millions of trees. Some major consequences of forest fires include significant loss of wildlife, loss of vegetation, soil erosion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

    With so much fire damage, reforestation is essential to catalyze the environmental recovery process. The trees are carefully planted to prevent invasive species from colonizing burn scars and restore quality habitat for native biodiversity. One Tree Planted is connecting with on-the-ground partners to establish viable reforestation projects when the recently affected regions are ready for planting. This fund will contribute to planting projects in British Columbia, Idaho, Ghana, Portugal, and beyond. Let's get to work! 🌲
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • To maximize the impact of your donation, our partners on the ground will determine the most appropriate species of tree and shrubs. We only plant native tree species that will restore the local ecosystem, re-establish wildlife habitat, and reduce the likelihood of future fires.

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