10 Steps to Save Water

Ten simple steps to reduce your ripple effect

In The Ripple Effect I explore how the some of smallest actions can have great impacts on our water supplies in terms of quality and quantity.  Here is a selection of simple things we can do at home, or work, that really make a difference:

  1. Fix leaks: a dripping faucet can waste more than 10 gallons of water a day
  2. Replace old wasteful toilets, showerheads, and washers with efficient new ones
  3. Recycle leftover water from your drinking glass or canteen by pouring it on plants
  4. Be careful what you pour down the drain or toilet, and don’t use anti-bacterial soap
  5. Avoid spraying the herbicide Atrazine on your lawn
  6. Plant your garden in a way that suits its environment.  Water your garden at night, not during the day, when evaporation is high. Use timers, water sensors, and drip-irrigation systems.  Widen tree-pits and collect rainwater.  Use absorbent gravel or brick rather than impermeable concrete for patios.  Don’t use the hose to spray away old grass clippings.
  7. Pay your water bill, which maintains key water infrastructure.
  8. Support watering restrictions and the use of “gray water” (cleaned sewage) on golf courses, athletic fields, and highway medians.
  9. Educate yourself, your friends, and your family about water.  Urge your politicians to support water conservation and anti-pollution measures. Water tainting industries are well-entrenched, but you can vote with your wallet.  Spread the word.
  10. Remember: every time you use water, even for the simplest things, it sets off a ripple effect.



  1. Catherine Roussel on February 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Greywater is not as described above in number 8. As defined on Wikipedia, “greywater is wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands.”

    • Alex on February 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks for your note Catherine. I understand your point, and suppose this is a question of semantics. While greywater does not come from the toilet, “wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing” is generally considered part of the domestic sewage stream. It’s difficult to convey that in a bullet point, so my use of “sewage” is really an expediency. But I hope you agree on the larger point, which is that it makes no sense to flush useful greywater away, or to use precious drinking-quality water for toilets and lawn watering.

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