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13.19: Conserving Water

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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You can help to use less water by conserving in your own home. One way is to install a low-flow shower head to reduce the amount water used during showers.

How Society Can Conserve Water

Water consumption per person has been going down for the past few decades. There are many ways that water conservation can be encouraged. Charging more for water gives a financial incentive for careful water use. Water use may be restricted by time of day, season, or activity. Good behavior can be encouraged; for example, people can be given an incentive to replace grass with desert plants in arid regions.

This colorful adobe house in Tucson, Arizona is surrounded by native cactus, which needs little water to thrive.

How You Can Conserve Water

As human population growth continues, water conservation will become increasingly important globally (Figure above), especially in developed countries where people use an enormous amount of water. What are some of the ways you can conserve water in and around your home?

  • Avoid polluting water so that less is needed.
  • Convert to more efficient irrigation methods on farms and in gardens.
  • Reduce household demand by installing water-saving devices such as low-flow shower heads and toilets.
  • Reduce personal demand by turning off the tap when water is not being used and taking shorter showers.
  • Engage in water-saving practices: for instance, water lawns less and sweep rather than hose down sidewalks.

How you can conserve water at home is the subject of this National Geographic video, “Conserve Water”: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/environment/going-green-environment/green-home-makeover/conserve-water-greenguide/. Other videos for making your home greener are found on that page as well.

At Earth Summit 2002, many governments approved a Plan of Action to address the scarcity of water and safe drinking water in developing countries. One goal of this plan is to cut in half the number of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015. This is a very important goal and one made more difficult as population continues to grow.


  • Society can reduce water consumption by making policies that encourage or require conservation.
  • People can reduce water consumption by taking shorter showers, installing water-saving devices, and many other methods.
  • Financial incentives can work to encourage people to conserve water and other resources.


Use this resource to answer the questions that follow.


1. What percentage of water is used in the bathroom?

2. How do low-flow toilets conserve water?

3. What does an aerator do?

4. List 3 additional tips for saving water.

5. How much water does a professional car war wash use?

6. Why shouldn't you use the garden hose to wash a car?


1. Why does your choice of garden plants affect the water consumption of your household?

2. How does water pollution reduce the amount of water that is available for people to use?

3. Why is providing clean water to all people so difficult? Why is it so important?

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Difficulty Level:
At Grade
Date Created:
Feb 24, 2012
Last Modified:
Mar 23, 2016
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