water Program

Take Action: Water

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

1. Know your Water
2. What's your Water Footprint?
3. Be Water Efficient
4. Conserve Water
5. Be Engaged

1. Know your Water

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.

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2. What's your Water Footprint?

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.

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3. Be Water Efficient 

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.

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  • 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.

4. Conserve Water

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!

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5. Be Engaged 

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.

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  • 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.

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