We take pride in our water – whether we are paddle boarding on Bde Maka Ska or hiking along the Mississippi – and it shows. Minnesota’s domestic water use is one of the lowest in the country, estimated at 75 gallons a day per person (EPA).
But what about the water we can’t see? Most of our water footprint is “virtual water” meaning it’s hidden in the products we consume. For example, it takes over 650 gallons to produce a cotton t-shirt and over 3,000 gallons for a smart phone. Thinking holistically about the way we use water is important today – and not just because it’s hot and the lake sounds nice.
Increasing population size coupled with growing water use are leading to water stress across the globe. According to the United Nations, water scarcity affects every continent and over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress (UN). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that managing water is a growing concern in the US. In a 2018 report, the EPA indicated 40 states expect to have water shortages unrelated to droughts over the next ten years (EPA).
The good news is that our individual actions can make a difference — and it’s easy to save water. The Seed Café and Modo Yoga are good examples. One of the best ways to reduce our water footprint is through dietary changes. It takes a lot more water to produce meat than fruits and vegetables and Seed Café provides a good alternative with its plant-based menu. Modo also saves water by providing a water-fill station rather than selling bottled water and by encouraging yogis to limit their showers to three-minutes.
There are so many resources and ideas on how to save water. Here are a few favorites:
- Water Footprint Calculator. This short quiz helps you better understand your daily water-use and gives you specific tips on how to reduce it.
- Choose to Reuse! This local campaign makes it easy to find thrift stores, fix-it clinics, garage sales and rent or share items. Saving water is not just about turning off the tap, you save a ton when you don’t buy new.
- Water Sense. The EPA shares information on water trends across the country and practical ways you can save in your home, yard, and daily life.
- From river to tap: Explore how Minneapolis gets its water. It’s difficult not to become a better water steward when you know the work and natural beauty that goes into each drop.
So, grab a veggie burger, get your thrift on and explore ways you can save water today.
By Kim Richards