At Saturday's Shoal Creek Water Festival, GreenTown Joplin staff and volunteers talked with hundreds of visitors about water conservation. We offered our Top 10 List for Saving Water at Home, displayed several water-saving fixtures for the bathroom (courtesy of Joplin Supply Company), gave away a couple of reusable bottles (including a very cool glass bottle with a bamboo sleeve that we bought at Suzanne's Natural Foods), and solicited the advice of children of all ages for their best water saving tips. We promised them we would share their wisdom on our website.
By an overwhelming margin, the tip we heard most often was "turn off the water when you're brushing your teeth". This is a very simple thing to do, and it can save you a LOT of water (and money) in the long haul. It's been calculated by people who undertake this sort of research that the average session of tooth-brushing at the bathroom sink takes from 2-5 gallons of water. Let's go with the conservative number - 2 gallons - and multiply that by 2 times a day - 4 gallons - times 365 days a year for a grand total of 1,460 gallons of water. That's for one person who brushes twice a day. Multiply that by family of 4 people and you get 5,840 gallons. Here in Joplin that's $58.40 worth of water spent on tooth brushing alone.
How to get this number down to a more reasonable level? Put the toothpaste on your brush, add the tiny bit of water you need to get your foam going, TURN OFF THE FAUCET, brush to your heart's content, turn on the faucet to get enough water in your hand to rinse. To save even more, keep a drinking glass in the bathroom and fill it up with just enough water for your oral hygiene functions, and you can get your figure down to a few OUNCES per session.
Here are some of the other great tips we heard from our visitors:
Fill up a bucket when the shower is heating up. (Autumn, age 9)
Save rain in a barrel. (Aiden, 6)
Run dishwasher when full. (Kimberly, 9)
Take a bath and use [the water] to water plants. (Cora, 8-1/2)
Save air conditioner's water for flowers. (Gaylon, 7)
Make sure your water hose is turned off 'cause even a tiny drop is a big waste. (Gatlin, 9)
Nina, 12, drew a beautiful picture of rain water catcher. And Shelby, 13, shared a wonderful drawing of a person standing under the moon, watering their yard - reminding us that you can conserve by watering during the cooler times of the day.
But, hands down, our favorite piece of advice came from 12-year old Lance: "never flush toilet".
In addition to our Top 10 List, you might be interested in our new handout The High Cost of Bottled Water, which was also on display at the GreenTown booth. The statistics found here are eye-opening.
Many thanks to our hosts, Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, who organized this wonderful event for the community, and to the Missouri American Water Company and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma (our neighbors at the festival) for generously sharing their water conservation handouts for distribution at our booth.
We'll be back this Thursday evening, August 16 from 5:30-8:30 at the Third Thursday event in downtown Joplin. Look for the GreenTown booth in the 300 block of South Main Street. We'll be there collecting even more water-saving tips, so if you're in the neighborhood be sure to stop by and share your ideas with us.
photo credit: Catherine Hart