Earth Week 2013 on AOL: 15 Ways You Can Save Water

First Posted: 04/24/13 EDT Updated: 04/24/13 EDT

To celebrate Earth Week, AOL is partnering with All Hands on Earth benefiting The Nature Conservancy. Here’s how you can get involved.

All Hands on Earth is a movement of millions of people and ethos-driven brands from all over the world, committed to taking immediate positive action to rescue our planet.

As part of AOL's commitment to helping All Hands on Earth reach its goal of 20 million actions, and $20 million raised, every day this week we'll be posting new tips and tricks to sustainable living.

Join AOL and The Nature Conservancy in supporting All Hands on Earth. Take action for our planet today, and tell us: What will you do for Earth? #AllHands

With water shortages and contamination becoming a larger problem around the world, it’s become crucial for us to take care of this precious and vital resource. Fortunately, there are simple things we can all do to preserve water at home, online, and outdoors.

At Home
1. Run washing machines and dishwashers only when they’re full. Large loads = less water used. Save energy by turning off the auto-dry setting and letting your dishes dry naturally.

2. Keeping a timer in your bathroom will help you take a shorter shower. Turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth also helps save water.

3. Turn off lights and unplug chargers. Water is used in all forms of energy generation. It can take over 4 gallons of water to keep a 60-watt light bulb lit for 12 hours.

4. Use biodegradable cleaning products. The water that goes down your drains will eventually flow into streams and bays.

5. Skip meat for one meal a week. It can take about 600 gallons of water to produce a hamburger. (Think of all the grain that’s grown to feed the cattle.)

1. Use social media to spread the word about the need to save water and save our water sources. Challenge your friends to match the actions you take.

2. Find out where your water comes from and urge others to do the same. Knowledge is power.

3. Go to the Facebook pages of your favorite brands – clothing, food, etc. – and ask them what they’re doing to reduce their water use and their impacts on water sources.

4. Donate to support a community project that helps protect water for people and nature.

5. Help us add more cities to our interactive water source map by doing some online detective work. Email us for instructions: water@tnc.org.

1. Plant a tree in your yard or a friend’s yard. Trees help keep soil in place and slow water down, reduce flooding, and enable rainwater to trickle down into groundwater supplies.

2. Water your lawn or garden in the morning or the evening when the water will evaporate less rapidly. Adjust sprinklers to avoid the pointless watering of sidewalks or paved areas. Also, sweeping instead of hosing your patio saves water.

3. Make sure your hiking gear is free of plant matter when you head out into nature. Seeds of invasive plant species can hitch a ride on boots. Invasive species can cause many water problems, including absorbing more water than native species and sending erosion and bacteria into rivers and lakes.

4. Volunteer for a stream-clean up or wetland restoration event.

5. Take someone on a hike near a river or lake—or better yet, get in or on the water—swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. People protect things they care about.

Read more:
Where Does Your Water Come From
Earn Points and Badges for Your Short Shower
What’s Your Water Footprint
Investing in Nature and Clean Water

Help Spread the Word. Use #AllHandsPicnic on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.