Yesterday was Earth Day and it rained most of the day here in Ottawa. While looking out at the rainwater dripping over the edges of the garage gutters I decided on my sixteenth sustainable activity for the month, waste less water. Despite the fact that 71% of the Earth’s surface is ocean, we are currently faced with increasing water insecurity. Global potable water sources are being strained as the incidence of storms, flooding, drought and other extreme weather events increase. At some point, Canadians started taking clean water flowing out of our taps for granted, myself included. I’ve decided that it’s time to pay more attention to how much water goes straight down the drain in my house. This is definitely not the only water-related habit I’ll be starting this month.
Here are some of the ways I’ll be reducing my water use:
- I’ve already looked at my laundry habits – larger loads, adjust the water volume for smaller loads, and stop buying liquid laundry detergent.
- For the most part, I don’t run the tap while brushing my teeth. I did catch myself leaving it running when I brushed my teeth last night, though. No more of that.
- No more running the dishwasher when it’s not full.
- I’m trying to place a large bowl in the sink when I’m rinsing dishes and washing vegetables. That water goes straight on the garden (so does the water from the dehumidifier in the basement). We also use the water from warming bottles to water plants in the house.
- We’ve started cleaning out the gutters and repairing/redirecting downspouts so that our lawn and garden benefit from the rain rather than sending it down the sewers into the stormdrain (I can’t stomach the idea of contributing to stormwater overflow spilling millions of tonnes of raw sewage into the nearby Ottawa River…more on that later though).
My husband has suggested that perhaps we should let it mellow if it’s yellow, but I’m still having difficulty with not flushing. Intellectually, I know it’s a great idea, but it still gives me the heebie-jeebies.