After a recent conversation with my mother, who resides in West Texas, I was shocked to hear about her water shortage issues. Granted, I’ve been hearing about it for the past several months; the city has enforced strict water restrictions for the residents — instructing them when they can water their flowers and recently imposing per gallon household limits with fines when necessary. City officials estimate that they will be out of water by January 2013, and the pipeline being built to bring water from other sources will not be finished until May 2013. The situation is eye-opening when it hits so close to home. I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t enforce restrictions years ago — and why every city doesn’t have restrictions that would force all of us to conserve our most vital resource.

With Earth Day quickly approaching on April 22nd, multiple towns across the country dealing with water shortages, and the forecast that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will experience water shortages by 2025, it’s only appropriate to discuss some easy ways we can conserve water and be more conscious about our water consumption.


Tweak Place a plastic beverage bottle filled with sand in your tank. You’ll use less per flush.

Fix If it’s running, you are wasting 40 flushes a day, so get it fixed now.

Leak A leak can waste 1,000 gallons a month. Put food coloring in the tank and check the bowl after 15 minutes; if there is color in the bowl without flushing, you need a new flapper or valve seal.

New Purchase only models that have the Water-Sense label. These use 20% less water.

Mellow Make a rule not to flush every time. If it is yellow let it mellow, if it is brown flush it down. This could save 45 gallons a day for a family of four.


New An EPA Water-Sense labeled shower head can save 90 gallons a day.

Bucket Collect the warming-up initial stream in a bucket to water your flowers or fill your humidifier.

Shorter Taking one minute off your current shower time will save 2.5 gallons a day.


Reuse Use the same glass all day to avoid more items to wash.

Save Pasta water can be used as a soup or sauce base.

Boycott It takes 3 liters of water to make 1 liter of bottled water. Drink filtered tap water instead.

Faucet Putting an aerator on your faucet can save 500 gallons a year.

Dunk Don’t rinse fruits and veggies under running water, dunk them in a bowl of water to control the amount used and then water your plants with that water.

Skip It takes 1,857 gallons to produce 1 pound of beef. Start a new tradition – Meatless Mondays or Tofu Tuesdays.

Do it for your household and then spread the word to your children, your parents, your aunts, uncles and cousins, your friends, your work colleagues and anyone else that crosses your mind. Encourage your church, your neighborhood and your place of employment to do the same.

“If you want happiness for a lifetime, help the next generation.” Whole Living Magazine

Statistics taken from Whole Living Magazine

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living