Protecting our water resources is crucial as they become increasingly strained in the face of pollution, a growing population, rising standards of living and water cycle shifts brought on by climate change. Get informed and learn what you can do to use water resources more sustainably with these five actions. (And you can discover many other opportunities to make sustainable food, water and energy choices on our Take Action homepage.)
Five Things Consumers Can Do
Caring for our water resources means learning about where your water comes from, knowing about its quality and cleanliness, and understanding how it is treated and delivered to your tap. What better place to learn about your water, than your watershed. GThe water resources on which your community depends - all the streams, rivers lakes and groundwater - make up your watershed. Learn about its special attributes and discover the many ways local water resources are used. In addition, find out more about your drinking water quality by obtaining the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) that explains your drinking water quality.
- EPA: Surf Your Watershed
- EPA: How's My Waterway?
- How the United States Uses Water
- New Chemical Pollution (i.e., "Emerging Contaminants")
- GRACE's Water Program page
- Find out the quality of your drinking water supplies ("tap water") through the Consumer Confidence Report that your water provider is required to produce every year for its customers.
- Where does your water come from? Watch as Long Island, NY residents answer this question in this funny and informative video, "Long Island's Drinking Water - Challenges and Solutions."
- Ten Things You Can Do to Make a Difference in Your Watershed
- Want to learn more with your kids about your drinking water? Check out these games, activities and lessons for students and teachers from the EPA.
Your water footprint is the amount of water you use in and around your home throughout the day. It includes the water you use directly (i.e., from a tap). It also includes the water used indirectly to produce the food you eat, the products you buy, the energy you consume and even the water you save when you recycle. You may not drink, feel or see this virtual water, but it makes up the majority of your water footprint. Learning about your water footprint can reveal the many ways that water is "hidden" in the goods and services you use daily, and can help your efforts to be more efficient and conservative with water.
- What is a Water Footprint? Concepts and Definitions
- National Geographic: The Hidden Water We Use
- Water Use, Withdrawal and Consumption: What Does it All Mean?
- Water Footprint Network
- Take the GRACE Water Footprint Calculator to get an idea of just how much water you use and learn ways to conserve.
- Check out these other water footprint calculators and water conservation resources.
- Learn how important water is to our daily lives and all the ways it's used, not just inside and outside our homes, but throughout society.
Water efficiency is when products or systems are designed to use less water with the same or better performance than conventional versions. Moreover, being more water efficient often means being more energy efficient because water and energy are intimately connected. Increase your water efficiency by taking advantage of the many efficient products found at EPA's WaterSense and the Department of Energy's ENERGY STAR programs. Find high efficiency toilets, faucets, washers, dryers and much more.
- EPA WaterSense
- Department of Energy ENERGY STAR
- Alliance for Water Efficiency
- River Network: Save Water, Save Energy
- Take the EPA's Test Your Water Sense interactive online quiz and guide the hero 'Flo' through water-efficiency questions to avoid water-wasting monsters (and behaviors), all while learning to save water.
- The Pacific Institute's WECalc is a home Water-Energy-Climate Calculator that allows you to discover how much water and energy you use, find your climate impact and then get customized recommendations to reduce that use.
- The Home Water Works direct-water use calculator helps you figure out how much water you use at home and how you compare to others in your area and shows you how to become more water efficient.
Water conservation means reducing water use through behavioral change, which begins with understanding how you use water, finding out where waste is occurring and then taking simple steps to limit that waste. By reducing your water use, you can quickly be on your way to saving gallons − ; and dollars − ; every day!
- Learn how you use water and find out how to conserve it in our GRACE "How to Save Water" page.
- Find a whole list of water conservation tips, resources, tools and calculators that can help you save water.
- Watch 10-year-old 'Aqua,' teach her family about saving water in this three-minute animated GRACE-produced video, then download and the related comic books, coloring books and posters to keep the water conservation message going!
- Save water when you travel. Check out this list of things you can do before you leave to ensure that you don't waste water while you're away and what you can do to save water on vacation.
A number of groups and campaigns are working to make sustainable water use part of your daily life. Find out more about their work as they help create awareness about conservation and sustainable use.
- Dive into the deep and interesting world of water by looking at the American Museum of Natural History's (AMNH) exhibition, Water: H2O = Life.
- Find (or host) a screening of "Last Call at the Oasis," a compelling documentary produced by Participant Media that sheds light on the global water crisis.
- Where is the world's water? And how is it used? Find out more about the ways water weaves itself around the world, and how H2O is the lifeblood of human civilizations and critical aquatic ecosystems with National Geographic's Freshwater 101.
- Food & Water Watch advocates for public control of water resources and services, strong conservation measures and tough regulation of toxic emissions. Read about the policies they promote that result in safe and affordable drinking water for everyone, and reduce reliance on bottled water.
- Educators can help students and young people learn more about the importance of water by using the AMNH Water: H2O = Life educational guide as well utilize other related materials.
- The Change the Course campaign gives you the opportunity to find out your water footprint and take a water-saving pledge, which actually puts 1,000 gallons of water back in the ailing Colorado River.
- Keep Aqua's message going with this "Save Water Take Action" poster.
- Find out which issues Food & Water Watch is working on and join their efforts.
- Find out which issues Clean Water Action is working on and join their efforts.