Drinking water

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Turn off the tap to save water

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Turning the tap off while you brush your teeth, wash your face, or suds up your hands is an easy way to save water from running needlessly down the drain. Further cut your water use by warming up or cooling down your water the eco-conscious way.

A few easy strategies

Old habits die hard, but learning to adjust your water use practices could have a decent impact on your overall water consumption. We've got a couple simple strategies that'll get you slowing the flow in no time.

  • Water on, water off: Don't let the water run endlessly as you brush your teeth or wash your hands. Instead, turn the tap on "half-blast" to wet your toothbrush or hands, then turn the water off while you scrub your pearly-whites or lather your skin. Turn the tap back on only when you're ready to rinse—employ the half-blast method again.
  • Cup-style conservation for shaving and brushing: When brushing your teeth or shaving, try using a cup. Simply fill an average glass with water (and shut the tap off when you're done). Dip your toothbrush or razor into the cup to wet it. Continue as usual, then use the cup-water to rinse.
  • Face-washing eco-wise: Get your face clean without gallons of water by using a washcloth. Turn the tap on briefly to wet your hands as well as your facecloth and then shut the flow off again. Apply soap to your wet hands and scrub like normal. When you're ready to rinse, use your wet cloth to remove the soap, then give it a quick rinse under the tap.
  • Cool down with a pitcher: If you're in need of a cold glass of water, don't run the tap until you get the desired temperature. Instead, plan ahead by filling a pitcher with water and putting it in the fridge. This way, you'll have cold water on demand without sending many, many gallons down the drain needlessly.
  • Water warm-up savings: If you've got to wait many minutes before your shower or tap water warms up, consider using the warm-up water for other purposes by putting a bowl or pail under the faucet. You can water your plants, rinse recyclables, or feed your pets with this otherwise wasted H2O.
  • Sensible shower use: If you've got a shut-off valve on your showerhead, use it to turn down or stop the water while you soap up, shave, or apply shampoo and conditioner.

Turning the tap helps you go green because…

  • It saves gallons of fresh water, a fast-disappearing resource.

Many communities in the US are starting to face water shortages and drought as water tables drop and rivers dry up. Access to fresh water is necessary for human survival, but human consumption is steadily rising. In fact, American homes consume an average of 90 gallons of water a day indoors, nearly 70 percent more than homes of other industrialized countries.[1]

A conventional bathroom faucet without an aerator uses between 3 and 6 gallons of water per minute.[2] According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), shutting the tap off while brushing your teeth or shaving saves as much at 3,000 gallons of water per person per year.[3]

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