Tuesday, March 19, 2013

5 Easy Tips to Conserve More Water

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Great Way to Celebrate World Water Day March 22nd

MommyBlogExpert is all about enhancing family living, working toward a greener lifestyle including sharing and celebrating World Water Day with you just as I did last year. With World Water Day 2013 coming up on March 22, I'm pleased to present this guest post by food and agriculture expert Danielle Nierenberg which highlights the U.S. water shortage as well as some simple things we can all easily do to conserve as much of this valuable resource as possible.

Guest Post by Danielle Nierenberg
Co-founder of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank

Celebrating World Water Day by Reducing Water Use in the United States 

The United States is one of the world’s biggest users of water. In fact, the average American uses as much water as approximately 900 Kenyans. As a result, water resources in the U.S. are shrinking. 

In the last five years, there have been water shortages in almost every part of the country, including the worst drought in at least 25 years, which hit 80 percent of the country’s farmland in 2012. Even worse, the damaged land won’t fully recover this year, and at least 36 states are expecting local, regional, or statewide water shortages, even without drought.

Niger Watering Can, Image by Danielle Nierenberg
The Natural Resources Defense Council expects water scarcity to affect the American South, West, and Midwest the most. Fourteen states in these regions already have “extreme” or “high” risk of water scarcity. Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, and Texas face the most danger because they are expected to see some of the largest increases in population by 2030. 

Water scarcity is about more than lack of water, it’s about lack of drinkable water. It is estimated that as many as 53.6 million Americans have contaminated tap water. But as eaters and consumers, we can profoundly reduce water waste and water consumption through the food choices we make. Recent research from the BarillaCenter for Food &  Nutrition (BCFN) shows that a healthful diet and environmentally sustainable diet can go hand in hand. 

5 Easy Ways to Save Water

1. Eat less meat. Switching to a diet rich in vegetables and grains could save 2,500 liters of water a day! And eating grass-fed and locally-raised meat, eggs, and dairy products can also save water. 

2. Steam veggies instead of boiling. In general, steaming vegetables uses less water than boiling, and according to a study in the Journal of Food Quality, it is more nutritious. If you must boil, save the water for your garden, soup stock, or use it to clean pots. 

3. Support small-scale, family farms. Agricultural subsidies in America disproportionately support large agribusinesses over small-scale producers who are more likely to be engaged in sustainable food production, and may be challenged by drought or commodity price fluctuations.

Heirloom Tomatoes from an organic farm stand in Oxnard, Calif.
4. Streamline water use in home gardens. During the summer months, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that nearly 40 percent of household water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Incorporating native plants into your garden and using self-watering planters often requires less water. Watering manually, instead automatic sprinklers, cuts water use by 33 percent according to a report by the EPA.

5. Reduce food waste. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that nearly one third of all food produced for people is wasted throughout production, storage, transportation, consumption and disposal. Learn about your food’s shelf life and freezer storage strategies, also use leftovers to create new meals or donate food you can’t use. 

It’s more important than ever that this World Water Day Americans find ways to save every drop. 
Author on ICRISAT Field Trip to Niger, Image by Danielle Nierenberg
About the Author
Danielle Nierenberg is a food and agriculture expert and co-founder of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank www.FoodTank.org.

FTC Disclosure: My family and I are devoted to improving our environment and making the world a greener place. I did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post. Thoughts are my own. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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