Water is a necessity for all living things and it is considered to be a renewable resource because it can be reused and we acquire more of it when it rains. As the human population continues to grow, this renewable resource will become limited. We must start being more conservative with its usage, especially in arid regions. Some ways to conserve water include:

Lower the water usage of your toilet. Find a half-gallon container, remove all labels, fill it partially with stones, sand, etc., and add water for additional weight to make the container less buoyant. Place the container in the tank of the toilet, submerging it in the water, and then restore the lid. Doing this could save up to 350 gallons of water per month.

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Install a rain barrel. You can use the trapped water to hydrate your plants and trees while also reducing sediment and pollution that would otherwise make its way into nearby storm drains. Just connect a rain barrel to your rainspout and all of the water from your roof will go into the barrel, instead of making a heavy flow into your yard or driveway.

Purchase Energy Star appliances. Look into buying dishwashers and washing machines that are Energy Star certified. They have been found to be 40 percent more water efficient than standard models. Also, be sure to run them only when they are full and do not worry about rinsing the dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. It has been found that this is an unnecessary step and wastes water. It will also save you some time that can then be used to rest and relax.

Switch out your shower head for a WaterSense labeled fixture. It saves families 2,900 gallons of water per year. Also, don’t let the shower run while gathering the clothes you are wearing for the day. It does not take that long for the water to heat up. Monitor it and let it run only as long as necessary. Also, do not let the water run while brushing your teeth. Turn it off between brushes.

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When watering your garden, do it in the morning. It is usually cooler and less windy, so the evaporation rate is low and the ground will retain the water longer.

You do not have to change your entire lifestyle in order to be more efficient. Just taking these small steps can make a huge impact. Do what you can today so we can ensure we have enough water in the future to sustain ourselves.

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Stephanie Siemek is a freelance writer whose work can be found on Examiner.com.