There was a water shortage in Copenhagen over the weekend. Probably due to the heatwave, a lot of Copenhageners turned on their taps at the same time, and the utility company simply could not keep up. I know this, because when I tried to turn on our tap to get a drink of water, the flow was only a trickle. And then I read about it in the news, too. That situation led me to wonder (1) what people are using all that water for and (2) how I can save water and do my part not to create water shortages in the future.
Now, I know that Denmark is not prone to droughts and water shortages. In fact, we are pretty darn privileged. We always have clean drinking water in the taps, and we can waste it all we want. So why even care about saving water?
Why save water? For your finances, your future and solidarity with others
Well, because there is no good reason to waste water. Sure, in Denmark water is pretty cheap (around €5/m3 in Copenhagen), but even still, the less water you use, the less money you pay. Easy.
Then there’s the sustainability perspective. Water is essential for life. Although we still have plenty of water in Denmark, climate change makes the summers warmer, and polluting industries make our main water supply, our groundwater, dirtier. So although we’re not short of water now, we could be in the future. And in some countries, water shortage is already an actual problem, where the conservation of water is critical.
Your mindset matters: Conserve, don’t waste
And then there’s the mindset. I think wastefulness in general is a bad thing. Especially considering that in many places in the world, people struggle with droughts and water shortages. Insufficient access to clean water kills people. Just not in our part of the world. So, it won’t change anything for someone in the Sahel region if a Danish person conserves water. But I believe that the change in mindset from wasteful to mindful consumption can change our attitude towards other global sustainability issues. And that might have a positive impact on the world.
Ideas for how to save water
So, having rambled on for a bit about why I think being wasteful with water is terrible, here is a list of things that I already do or will try to do (marked with *) to save water:
- Take short showers – and not every day
- Make sure the toilet isn’t running – and have water-conserving toilet
- Never leave the water running when brushing teeth, doing dishes, washing hair, etc.
- Use ‘leftover’ water (e.g. from boiling pasta) for watering plants*
- Keep cold water in the fridge instead of leaving the water running
- Always drink all the water in the glass
- Do dishes in a dish washing tub rather than running water*
- Only wash clothes when they are actually dirty
- Don’t water the lawn (seriously – why do people do this?)
- Don’t fill up a pool if it would take 2 hours or less to get to the water
Share your best tips for saving water
I probably have 1000 blind spots, so if you have any awesome water-saving tips, please share in the comments!
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