6 Ways I *Really* Conserve Water

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I recently completed a "7 gallon challenge" with Numi Organic Tea as part of World Water Day and to raise awareness about Numi's Together For H20PE Campaign (you can watch a replay of the challenge in the "highlights" section of my instagram profile). Living with only 7 gallons of water for an entire day was challenging, but manageable, and I realized that the manageability of the challenge fact was largely due to the fact that I've been slowly implementing water-saving habits over the years as I've become more conscious of the precious resource that clean water is. For me, though, "saving water" isn't just about making sure faucets don't drip and taking shorter showers. It's looking at areas of my life where I indirectly use up water and taking steps to minimize my negative impact within those areas. 

Here are a few of my favorite tips for lessening water usage: 

1. Eat mostly plants. 
The water we waste in our homes pales in comparison to the amount of water that is used to produce just a pound or two of meat for our consumption. Beef production uses 1,847 gallons of water per pound of ready-to-consume meat. Chicken (518 gallons per pound) and eggs (395 gallons per pound) are a bit better, but still pretty water-intensive! (source)

2. Drink tea. 
I'd like to say that my choice to drink tea instead of coffee is an entirely noble, earth-loving one, but actually I don't drink coffee because I don't like the taste (or the caffeine levels!). If you're a coffee drinker, though, try switching a few of your cups of coffee each day for a mug or two of tea. Coffee uses almost 10 times as much water to produce as tea, using 1,056 gallons of water per one gallon of brewed coffee.

3. Don't let clean water run down the drain. 
If you knew that your water supply was running out, you'd probably try to capture and use every drop, right? I try to avoid rinsing things and letting water run down the drain (especially when washing dishes). I also collect water in a big tub that I stand in when I shower and use it to flush my toilet. 

4. Consume less clothing
The water footprint for just one pound of cotton is 1,320 gallons. That equals over 650 gallons of water for one new cotton t-shirt. For jeans, it's over 2000 gallons. Buying clothing, using it for only a few wears, and discarding it is a tremendous waste of water, when you think about it. 

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5. If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down. 
Okay, okay... gross, I know. But flushing the average toilet uses anywhere from 1.6 gallons to 7 GALLONS (if you have a really old toilet) each time you pump the handle, and it's not really necessary! I only flush my toilet a few times a day. I also don't use toilet paper, but that's another story entirely, which will be saved for another blog post. 

6.  Don't wash clean clothes. 
This one is difficult for me. I like crisp clothing, and hate baggy knees on jeans. I've been known to wash jeans or shirts that are okay for at least another wear or two, just because I want them to be "fresh" and tightened up again. However, I recognize that nearly 80% of my clothing's impact on the environment comes from my washing and drying of it and I'm trying to avoid this behavior! 

How about you? What are your lifestyle hacks to conserve the precious resource of water? Leave me some suggestions below!