Few people are aware that most of the world's fresh water is consumed in the products we use, wear and eat. Did you know that 11,000 liters of water were used to make your pair of jeans? Or that your t-shirt took around 2,700 liters of water to make? Even your morning coffee expends 100 liters before it ends up in your mug, while your cell phone required 32 liters to make. Here's a brief list of practical tips to help you save water, wherever you are.
Shorten your showers by a minute or two and you'll save up to 560 liters per month. Buy a shower timer, available on Taobao for 145 yuan ($23), and try to limit your showers to five minutes. Consider washing your face and brushing your teeth while in the shower. Keep a bucket at your feet to catch water, then use it to flush the toilet or water plants.
Only operate full cycles for your dishwasher or washing machine.
Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running the tap over them. Again, used the saved water to nourish plants.
Avoid using running water to thaw food. Instead, defrost food in the refrigerator.
Avoid the car wash when your vehicle is dirty and use a bucket and a sponge instead. Washing your car with the hose can use more than 500 liters in the space of a half hour.
When changing water for an aquarium, try and use it to water plants or the lawn instead of pouring it down the sink or toilet. Aquarium water often contains nitrogen and phosphorus beneficial to plant growth.
Use the minimal flush button after using the toilet. Reuse water from your desk humidifier to water the plants.
Phone the Beijing City Administration and Environment Commission on 12319 to report broken pipes, gushing hydrants, and leaking faucets, sprinklers and hoses.
Join the Water Dragon
Beijing-based NGO Thirst is celebrating the Year of the Dragon by forming a "human water dragon" comprised of people who have signed a pledge declaring they care about saving water. Sign up to the Thirst newsletter and follow its social networking pages for more information on how you can save water.
Sources: www.wateruseitwisely.com and www.thirst4water.org