Okay, by now you’re familiar with the term “carbon footprint” – the carbon emissions created as a result of your meanderings.Since we’re all in that mindset, here’s something new to consider – your “water footprint”. As you can probably guess, your water footprint simply measures the amount of water you consume while going about your daily life.
I recently came across a Water Footprint Calculator on H2O Conserve’s site, and used it to calculate how much water consumption we’re responsible for in my little household of two. Though our living quarters are small, one thing the calculator illustrated clearly was that the lack of low-flow faucets and shower heads in my place create a larger footprint than is necessary. (Note to self: talk with landlord about this, as well as yard waste/food scrap recycling). I did get bonus points for “letting it mellow”, however.
All this got me to thinking: how are we about our water consumption while we travel? So much of the world is constantly plagued by drought, water quality issues and even facing challenges to accessing water at all, water conservation should be a top priority for any responsible traveler.
A few tips for globe stompers watching their water footprints:
* Always follow the good water-saving habits you’ve established at home, such as turning off the water when brushing your teeth, even though you’ve stepped out of your normal routine.
* Bring a couple of re-usable water bottles and treat your own drinking water, which is beneficial for a host of reasons.
* Select hotels based on their environmental practices, including water conservation. Look for lodging where they use low-flow fixtures and toilets, natural cleaning products (much easier on local water sources), and find out what they are doing in regards to sanitation and waste water. Thumbs up to hotels using rain catchment or other eco-friendly systems.
* Ask hotel staff not to launder your bedding and towels daily.
* Avoid hotels with golf courses (water-suckers as well as run-off polluters!) and swimming pools.
* Try taking shorter and/or less frequent showers so as not to be a drain on the local water supply. In hot areas, a swim at the lake or beach can be a refreshing alternative.
photo by Llima