Two kayaks floating down a river.
Delaware River Adventure seekers kayak on the Delaware River in New Jersey. © Creative Commons/Jim Pennucci

Land & Water Stories

Five Ways to Appreciate Water

On average, Americans use about 80-100 gallons of water per day—and that’s just what comes from showers, baths, laundry, dishes, and other conventional household activities. With so little effort needed to turn on our faucets and enjoy clean, filtered water, it’s easy to take fresh water for granted.

Here are five ways you can show your appreciation for water:

1. Eat Vegetarian (or Vegan) for the Day

Water plays an integral part in all aspects of food production, from irrigating fields to processing harvests. But some foods—like beef and other animal products—use more water than others. In fact, it takes about 440 gallons of freshwater to produce one pound of boneless beef in the U.S. To use beef as an example, if each person in the United States ate 1 pound of beef less per year, it could save more than 144 billion gallons of water!

2. Reuse Cooking Water for Plants

The last time you boiled your pasta or vegetables, what did you do with the water? Like most, you may have poured it down the drain. But did you know you can get double the use out of your water by collecting it and reusing it to water your plants? Not only that, but the starches from the pasta or the vitamins and minerals leeched out of your vegetables can provide your plants with additional nutrients. Just remember to let the water cool off before reusing it so you don’t scorch your garden.

3. Set Up a Rainwater Capture System

Capturing rainwater can be as simple as collecting rain runoff from your gutters into a barrel or as complex as connecting an elaborate catchment area to your home’s plumbing system. Regardless of how you choose to capture rainwater, you’ll help conserve your local supply of treated fresh water as well as preventing soil erosion and runoff pollution—how’s that for a three-in-one positive impact?

Rainwater Capture System By using a rainwater capture system, like the barrel here, and using cooking water to water your garden, you can help reduce your water usage. © Shutterstock

4. Choose Water Instead of Soda

There’s no easier way to appreciate water than to drink more of it! Not only will your body thank you, but water reservoirs around the world will too. It can take up to 175 liters of water to produce just half a liter of soda once you account for the sweeteners, flavorings, caffeine, packaging, and more. Need ideas on how to up your water game? Try infusing your water with berries, cucumbers, herbs, or your favorite citrus. 

5. Visit a Nearby Lake or River

Stunning landscapes should not be relegated to your social media feed; make time to connect with nature and appreciate the life-giving force of water. Take a romantic evening stroll on the waterfront, plan a daytime kayaking adventure, or a simply enjoy refreshing moment of relaxation listening to the sounds of water in motion. Water is life and what better way to celebrate water than by immersing yourself in its sights and sounds? Use our TNC nature preserve search tool to find conservation areas local to you.