By C. Jeanne Heida , Yahoo! Contributor Network
Are you a water hog? You are not alone. According to CBS, the average American uses a whopping 150 gallons of water every day - making us a pretty wasteful bunch.
In the past five years, almost every region of the United States has experienced water shortages of some kind. Moving forward, the news isn't any better with at least 36 states anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013. Are you doing your part to conserve water? Here are five easy ways to lower household water consumption.
Let your dishwasher do its work. Today's Energy Star dishwashers are designed to pre-rinse, wash, and rinse a full load of dishes using less than 3-4 gallons of water per cycle. Using a dishwasher instead of washing or pre-rinsing by hand is an easy way to save 12 gallons (or more) of water a day.
Don't use the toilet as a waste basket. Using a toilet to get rid of bugs, dead goldfish, and used tissues is a pointless waste of a valuable resource. You can save 4-7 gallons per flush by tossing these items in the garbage can instead of using the toilet as a convenient catchall.
Wash full loads of laundry only. A washing machine uses 35 gallons of water to wash and rinse a single load of laundry. It's easy to conserve water (as well as time) by consolidating soiled laundry into a few large loads instead of a bunch of bitty ones.
Have the toilet flapper valves replaced every two years. Silent leaks in your toilet can waste thousands of gallons of water a month. If your water bill has been creeping up lately, the flapper valves may have lost their grip due to age or excess bleach in the water. Regular replacement of the toilet flapper valves will conserve both water and money.
Switch out shower heads. If your teens are in the habit of 10-minute showers, replacing the old shower head with a water-saving model is an easy way to save 25 gallons of water per use. Convincing them to cut their showering time in half will save an additional 12 gallons of water per shower.
When it comes to conserving water, all it takes is a few changes in our lifestyle to make a huge difference. Saving water now really is the best solution for ensuring that we'll have plenty of clean water in our future.
SourcesEPA Water Sense.