7 Simple Ways to Conserve and Honor Water in Our Homes
The water we drink today has been cycling between the sky, living organisms, and the earth for hundreds of millions of years, and during that time the amount of fresh water on the planet has remained relatively constant. Yes, the same water that is in your cup, in your toilet, or in your shower may have once have nourished a dinosaur or one of your ancestors!
Ancestral communities around the globe have always observed and honored the sacred element of water as the giver and sustainer of life, without which no living thing can survive. Yet modern man has lost this appreciation for the eternal clarity, purity, calm, and adaptability of water – we instead tend to treat it as another commodity to be bottled and sold, used without intention and wasted.
But as we brace for the global human population to exceed 8 billion by the year 2024, we also need to realize that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will live with water scarcity as a daily reality, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions. In 2016, 1 in 10 people does not have access to clean drinking water in 2016, and 1 in 3 does not have access to a toilet. Also true of our current world are the disturbing facts that women and children around the world spend a combined 125 million hours a day gathering water, and that every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related diseases.
Whether we live in an area that receives ample rainfall, or one that has been experiencing drought, it is time for all of us to reexamine our relationship with water. Consider the implementation the following simple measures in your homes to be a practice of consciousness that will lead us to conserve our sacred sister, water, for the benefit of all of humanity and generations to come.
Rainwater Harvesting: The water that falls from the sky is a blessing. Rain is the return of abundance and life to the planet and the sign of renewal and rejuvenation for all living things. Do not watch it run down the gutter into the street and into the sewer. Harvest the rain that falls on your home with buckets and barrels, and use that water to wash the dishes, water your plants, flush your toilets, or bathe.
Replace Older Appliances and Fixtures: Old toilets, washing machines, dish washers, and shower heads waste a lot of water unnecessarily. Older shower heads, for example, can use up to 5 gallons per minute. If you have the means to do so, switch to eco-friendly models and begin reducing water usage with your next flush, load of laundry, or shower.
In the Shower: If you are fortunate enough to be able to take a hot shower with clean water, and you want to wait for the water to get warm before getting in, please use a bucket to catch the water that comes out before it is hot. Use that water to flush the toilet or do the dishes from breakfast. Also, please consider wetting your body, turning the water off, soaping, then turning the water back on to rinse. If you cannot sacrifice the luxury of a constant stream of water pouring down, make your shower as quick as possible. Finally, shower every other day or when truly necessary, instead of every day or twice a day, and try showering with the rain water you collect!
Doing the Dishes By Hand: Fill the sink part way with water and add some soap. Wash and scrub the dishes with that water. Drain that water and refill the sink just a bit with clean water. Dip the dishes in there to rinse. This technique saves a lot of water compared to keeping the water running the entire time.
Using the Toilet: Urinate outside, or use the time tested ¨if it´s yellow let it mellow, if it´s brown flush it down¨ technique. Also, we can flush the toilet by pouring rainwater, the water collected from our showers, or the water that we cooked our pasta in to flush the toilet. To do this, simply pour the necessary amount of water into the bowl and watch it go!
Turn the Tap Off: When brushing your teeth, wet the brush and turn off the water, Turn it back on when you´re finishing brushing. When washing your hands, wet your hands and close the tap. Scrub and clean your hands with the water off, then turn it back on to wash the soap off.
Reconnect to Water: Before going to bed, place a glass of water on your bedside table. When you wake up, sit up in bed and take that glass of water into your hands. Give thanks for the presence of water in your life, and then set your intentions for the day – this is best done by speaking aloud into the glass, or saying the words silently. Then drink the water and get your day started knowing that you are blessed.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – We are all One Family!