Water is an essential part of our day-to-day lives.

We use it for drinking, cooking, growing food, washing and cleaning. The average American uses 2,000 gallons of water a day both directly and indirectly between their home, yard, diet and the products they buy at the store.

We also use water for industrial purposes, such as steel production and paper manufacturing.

We even use water without knowing it through the clothes we wear. It can take up to 2,700 liters of water to produce the cotton needed to make one T-shirt.

River Network LogoWith the help of River Network, there’s a lot you can do to reduce your water footprint and help rejuvenate our aquifers, lakes, rivers and wetlands with clean water. River Network has been at the forefront of protecting our waters for the past 30 years, working to expand and strengthen local, regional and national watershed and conservation efforts.

What Is a Water Footprint?

Simply put, a water footprint measures the amount of water used to produce the goods and services we use.

According to Zak Lance, Community Engagement Coordinator at River Network, we need more strong local champions of our streams, rivers and lakes.

Zak Lance“It’s very important that everyone understands where their water comes from and that their everyday choices, from the food they eat to the energy they consume, requires massive amounts of water. If we all start reducing our water footprints today, the collective benefit will be amplified.”

Zak Lance I Community Engagement Coordinator

Do you know what your water footprint is? With River Network’s water footprint calculator, you can estimate how much water your household uses.

So, what can you do to reduce your daily water use?

Ways to Reduce Water Use at Home

Use a Rain Barrel for Watering Gardens, Flowers and Lawns

A single 55 gallon rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water every year.

“Rain barrels can help homeowners lower their water bills, reduce demand for treated tap water, limit the amount of polluted storm water runoff flowing into our rivers and lakes, save water for use during droughts and help control erosion,” Lance said.

Install Water-Wise Appliances and Showerheads

From a residential standpoint, installing low-flow dishwashers and washing machines is a highly effective way to reduce water use. The same goes for showerheads and toilets.

Older showerheads can use up to 5 gallons of water per minute, while older model toilets can use up to 4 gallons per flush.By installing water-saving shower heads and toilets, those numbers can decrease to 2 and 1.6 gallons, respectively.

Fix Leaking Fixtures and Limit Outdoor Irrigation

According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a faucet that leaks 60 drops per minute will waste 192 gallons of water a month. Check your water bill for any instances of high water use.

You can also reduce your water footprint by simply cutting back the amount of time spent watering the lawn, especially during the day when water evaporates more quickly.

Take a look at the Environmental Innovators section of our blog for other organizations making a positive impact on the environment. Looking to reduce your water footprint or have another suggestion on how to do so? Leave us a comment!