Your carbon footprint depends on a number of factors: Your transportation method, fuel efficiency, home size, purchasing choices, eating habits … all of these things and more have an impact on the planet. In the world of ‘footprints’, however, there’s more to consider than your carbon emissions. Have you ever thought about your water footprint?

The Water Footprint Network (WFN) states that “The water footprint refers to the volumes of water consumption and pollution that are ‘behind’ your daily consumption.” This is largely centred on consumer behaviour. Your purchasing decisions and water-saving habits (or lack thereof) both contribute to your water footprint. If you’re interested in minimising your impact on the environment, consider these ways to do so.

Reduce in-home water use

One of the most obvious ways to use less water is to make changes to your consumption habits at home. Invest in dual-flush toilets and consider purchasing a water-saving showerhead. You should also make sure to turn the water off during times when you don’t truly need it, such as while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. Did you know that in the UK alone, women waste up to 50 billion litres of water each year just by not turning off the shower head while shaving their legs? Imagine the worldwide figures!

Check for leaks

According to the the city of Whitehorse, Victoria, local government, a leaky toilet can waste about 16,000 litres of water over the course of just one year. A plumber can do an audit of your home to determine if any leaks are present in the toilets, faucets or pipes.

Heat your water smartly

It’s not just about water use – how you power your water sources also matters. Consider solar hot water systems that deliver warm H2O to your shower and tap without wasting energy. Evacuated tube solar systems use Australia’s native sunlight to harness warmth for your home water sources.

Adjust your purchasing decisions

When you buy clothing, food and other goods, consider how much water has gone into the manufacture of each product. For example, according to Brad Ridoutt, an environmental scientist, eating things like meat and non-local grains require significantly more water use than consuming a mostly local, vegetarian diet. He told ECOS magazine that one kilo of beef generates 15,000 litres of water use.

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