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Splish, Splash: How to Reuse Water at Home

Are you worried about water shortages? Wondering how you can play a role in water conservation? Here are five “catchy” ways to recycle water at home.

Water. We use it every day for drinking, bathing, washing and recreation. But the changing climate and the costs of transporting water through public systems and into our homes and offices make it challenging for many communities to meet their long-term water needs. Reuse of treated wastewater and stormwater for agricultural or non-potable uses is becoming a more popular option for homes and businesses around the globe.

Water shortages in the western region of the United States highlight the increased pressure our freshwater supplies face today. While less than 1% of the Earth’s water is available for drinking, each American uses an average of 82 gallons of water per day. However, up to a third of this water can be safely reused through water reuse treatment systems. For example, instead of flushing toilets or watering our lawns with a resource as precious as drinking water, shower and laundry water are treated and conditioned for use in non-drinking water applications.

Globally, gray water treatment for reuse (not for drinking) has become a top priority in many locales where water is scarce, as they brace for more extended and severe periods of drought amid the escalating climate crisis.

Here are some expert tips on what you can do:

  • Act Before You're Left High and Dry

    As consumers, we can do a lot to reduce our water usage right in our own backyards. Many people feel water conservation should be a way of life and believe we all have a role to play — from altering everyday habits to advocating for changes in your town.
  • Let It Rain

    Create your own reliable, user-friendly at-home water storage and collection system for rainwater. You can use it to water your garden and plants and even clean off the car too — but do not drink this water.
  • Join the Bucket Brigade

    While waiting for a plumber to fix your leaky faucet or tub spout, collect the water in buckets. Take this gently used water and utilize it for rinsing off your porch, washing your car or watering plants outside.
  • Protect Your Pets

    Check with your veterinarian before bathing or giving your pet any water from a reuse treatment system, as the water may not be suitable for their skin or digestive systems.
  • Invest

    If you install a water reuse treatment system, look for NSF-certified systems. The NSF/ANSI 350 standard sets requirements for the treatment system so that the water is acceptable for specific uses, such as irrigation, toilet/urinal flushing and decorative fountains. In some cases, these systems can save up to 1,500 gallons of drinking water per household each day. Remember to check with your local plumbing inspector before installing any treatment system.

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