Reducing water footprint has become a priority for each citizen living on this planet. The fight for conservation is rough, and right now, water is on the losing end. “Population is growing at an unprecedented rate,” says an article in News Blare, and so is water consumption. Soon, everyone will get hit in the gut with water shortage. 

Aside from the average one gallon of water every human being drinks, eating also consumes water. Assembling the “humble burger”—sesame buns, cheddar, tomato, lettuce, and beef patty—needs at least 3,000 liters of water to put together each ingredient.

National Geographic confirms that, producing the meat alone, a pound of beef needs “1,799 gallons of water, which includes irrigation of the grains and grasses in feed, plus water for drinking and processing.”

To master conservation and be part of the solution, you can start by shaving off a few gallons of your daily water consumption at home. It may sound like an enormous undertaking, but reducing hundreds of gallons is not as difficult as you may think. Here’s how.

Low-Flow Showerhead and Toilet Fixtures

It’s more than what you drink or eat. Water surrounds people like no other element does. Decreasing water usage is only practical. It not only gives hope for water’s future but can also give you better savings.

An average American has been shown to take eight-minute showers. If you extend to ten minutes, you consume about 38 gallons daily. Cutting down on shower time can substantially lessen water consumption. On top of that, installing a low-flow showerhead has been proven to be effective and can decrease showering water further to about 23 gallons.

Also, if you’re still using an old toilet, you need to upgrade it as soon as you can. Toilets manufactured years ago use four times more water, as compared to newer models. Part of mastering the art of conserving water means putting a plug or at least regulating your water outflow anywhere you can. Smart and high-efficiency macerating toilets, like Saniflo, use a little over a gallon per flush, compared to older ones, which use more than three gallons.

Simple Water-Saving Choices for Breakfast and Lunch

If you fuel the start of the day with coffee, then you are part of the 83 percent of American adults who do the same daily. A mug of coffee needs about 37 gallons of water, factoring in the amount required to produce it. According to a survey by the National Coffee Association, 587 million coffee cups are consumed every day, estimated at three cups per person on average.

Choosing to skip coffee for your morning grind and going for another hot drink—say, tea, which equals to nine gallons per cup—can definitely save lots of gallons. Not to say you should give up on coffee altogether, but imagine, skipping on just one mug per day out of the assumed three as mentioned on the survey above and doing the same for an entire month can sum up to over a thousand gallons’ worth of water savings.

Skipping on eggs in the morning, which needs 72 gallons, and opting for cereals instead, only 22 gallons, is another boost to water conservation. As for lunch, good old hamburgers with cheese translate to a whopping 672 gallons compared to mixed salads, with only 31 gallons. 

Avoid Dishwashing by Hand

After eating comes the cleaning part. Without factoring in production this time, this is the part where you take center stage and play a more active role in conserving. 

Starting off with dishwashing—your personal slogan as a water conservationist should sound to the tune of no-to-hands. Running tap is evil for water. When you do the dishes by hand, it takes up to 20 gallons or more per washing. But if you put them in an Energy Star–certified dishwasher, you will not only trim your water bills but also reduce usage to four gallons every time. 

You can do a whole lot more if you do your dishwashing on full load instead of washing dishes one at a time. Keep in mind that dishwashers use the same amount of water to wash one plate and 20 plates.

The universal rule of less is more does not apply to dishes, same goes for laundry. Remember, by doing more, you are saving more. The key to mastery is consistency. You’ll be saving thousands more when you do.

What Conservation Really Means

Conservation does not mean halting production or giving up on meat or your favorite food that has meat. But being aware of the number, how water adds up to daily consumption, is a good place to start as any.

It starts with simple things. They’re so simple that most people overlook them. From the moment you wake up and go to the bathroom, your water footprint begins to go up. By the time you go back from work, it continues to add up even while you’re sleeping.