All parents are aware of the fact that "back-to-school" is among the most hectic times of the entire year. You are trying to get new bedtime routines established so that everybody is up and ready to leave on time in the morning. You have to contend with moving your kid's fall clothing in (as you are storing summer clothes and retrieving the fall ones, only to realize that none of your children's clothing fits them now that they were able to wear at the end of last spring). You need to get backpacks and supplies organized, prepared and make lunches, and make arrangements for your new schedule. Therefore we understand completely that water conservation isn't going to be at the forefront of your mind.
However, what if it was. Just thing about the excellent example you would be setting, showing your children and how effective/easy good water-saving habits are. The following are five simple ways that water conservation can be worked into your back-to-school routine.
1. For showers use a timer. Limiting everybody to a 10 minute or shorter shower will not only help with saving water, but it will keep everyone on time and focused in the mornings as well as at bedtime. For even greater savings, replace the current shower head that you have with a water-saving model.
2. Reuse your towels. You are clean after taking a shower. So rather than throwing your towels in the hamper after using them once, hang them up and then use them tomorrow. Either use a coat rack or purchase robe hooks to hang up in your bathroom and then assign a hook to each member of the family. Most younger kids will be able to hang a towel up on a hook more easily than attempt to fold and hang it up on a traditional bar (which tends to result in a bunched-up mess of towels.)
3. Be careful with your other laundry as well. The jeans that you wore yesterday can probably be worn one more time before they need to be washed. When getting undressed, determine which clothes are dirty and which ones you can wear another time. That will save you a lot of water, as well as plenty of energy and time on doing a lot less laundry. We all want to have less laundry to do. When doing a load of laundry, try using cold water and also set the right load size. Line or air dry laundry whenever possible to save energy.
4. Encourage healthy eating and the drinking of plenty of water. You probably do this already with your kids, but were you aware that drinking water and eating fresh foods helps to save on energy and water? Producing processed foods usually take much more water than growing actual food. Also, buying locally grown food will cut back on how much energy and water is needed for transporting it. Check out Guelph's farmers market, that will be your best options for getting high-quality vegetables and fruits. Also, many areas have low-cost or free co-ops and community gardens that provide local, fresh food.
Another healthy and quick tip that can end up saving many gallons of water every year is having a pitcher of water inside your refrigerator for drinking, rather than waiting for the tap on your sink to run cool. You can add fresh fruits such as pineapple, limes or strawberries to give the water some flavor. That will help to encourage your children to drink than rather than sodas or sugary juices.
5. Consider what kind of water footprint the products have that you use on a daily basis and try making some changes. Although it is a very complex system, energy and water are tied together very closely, and at times it can be hard to understand just how much water is needed for the products we use all of the time. Try finding ways to recycle or reuse things whenever possible. Or create reusable items on your own. Single-use products can be replaced with reusable water bottles, reusable containers or lunch baggies or cloth shopping bags.
You might be thinking, doesn't it take water to make and wash them too? Yes, it does. However, the water that is consumed to create and wash reusable items is a lot less compared to what is wasted to make new single-use products. It has been estimated that to produce one pound of plastic takes around 24 gallons of water.
Even if you just focused on packing lunches for your kids - just think of all of the various ways you could save water through reusing items.
And remember to always stay safe and have fun.