13 best ways to save water

97.5% of the world’s water is locked in seas and oceans, too salty for human use. And most of the remaining 2.5% is in the ice caps.

So we humans depend on the tiny bit available as fresh water – an essential natural resource for life.

But we don't just use water for drinking. We wash in it, clean with it, and use it to produce everything from clothing to food. Crop production – including feed for livestock and biofuels – is putting a great strain on fresh water supplies.

Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire, England

Save water, save our planet

Our water comes from rivers, lakes and sources like the Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire (pictured).

Climate breakdown is one of the biggest drivers of water shortages and is expected to heap even more pressure on our depleting supplies. People in England are facing shortages by 2050 unless we save water fast – according to the UK Environment Agency.

Read on for ways to take action and save our water supplies.

Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire, England
pile of wasted food

A group of children watering the plants

5. Time your gardening

Water outdoor plants in the early morning or at the end of the day to stop water immediately evaporating in sunlight and heat. Water the soil so that the liquid goes straight to the roots, where it’s needed.

In a heatwave, animals need water too. Instead of watering your lawn, leave out a water-filled container, like a casserole dish, for birds to drink from and wash. Thirsty bees and other insects will need a saucer or bowl with water and stones in it.

A group of children watering the plants
Food and drink on outdoor table

9. Quality and seasonal eating

Rearing animals for meat and dairy and harvesting crops like avocado at a large and unsustainable scale is incredibly water-intensive. By cutting down on meat and dairy and eating seasonal vegetables you'll be helping to conserve water.

You'll also be helping to protect the climate. The meat and dairy industries are big contributors to global warming.

Food and drink on outdoor table

13. Don't fund the water-grabbers

Some companies and investors that buy up land around the world contribute to water scarcity and pollution. They sometimes deny local people access to water, pollute watercourses or exhaust supplies. This can affect the ability of local communities to farm and access safe drinking water. This is known as "watergrabbing" .

Make sure you know where your savings or pension are invested. And check how the companies that make the products you use treat local water sources. That way you'll know you're not supporting water wastage and contamination.


Put pressure on government

Around the world, governments can also help to save fresh water and prevent water pollution by:

  • measuring water use and setting targets to reduce it
  • obliging large companies to measure and manage the amount of resources they use
  • encouraging lower water diets – including reduced meat consumption
  • supporting industry to make water-intensive products last longer
  • providing consumers with the tools to understand the water impacts of the things they buy
  • making laws to increase water recycling
  • preventing people and companies from polluting waterways by making laws against using toxic chemicals which could pollute our soils.

Join a Climate Action group and help drive change locally and nationally.

Friends of the Earth is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network. Do they work near you?

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