One Thanksgiving my extended family was gathered at my parents’ house, cooking away, when one of us turned away from our conversation to turn on the faucet and… nothing came out. My parents live out in the country with well water. Nobody knew if the pump had malfunctioned or the well had just dried up, and we couldn’t get a repairman because it was Thanksgiving. We all quickly learned how little water we actually needed, and how much water we waste every day. Water suddenly became precious to us.
Read: My Great Grandmother’s Gourd by Cristina Kessler + Walter Lyon Krudop. A Sudanese village is thrilled with their new well pump, but Fatima’s grandmother is saddened that nobody is preparing the baobab trees to collect water during the time of rain. Though the villagers ridicule Fatima as she alone helps her grandmother prepare her “great-grandmother’s gourd”, they are later grateful when the well unexpectedly breaks at the height of the dry season and Fatima’s grandmother offers to share her tree. A great story for sparking conversations about our reliance on water and how different communities deal with this issue.
Take a Water Footprint Calculator quiz. I came out at 890 gallons per day. That seemed like a lot, but the average American uses 1,190 gallons per day!
Each time you get in the shower, challenge yourself to make it shorter. Use a regular timer, or this gadget to gauge your progress.
If your family is up for it, fill jugs of drinking water in the fridge, and a few buckets or tubs with water for other uses, then turn off the water valves (or forbid anyone from turning on any faucets), and see how long what you have saved lasts.