08/16/2012 05:50 EDT | Updated 08/17/2012 09:15 EDT

How To Save Water: 5 Things You Can Do To Save H2O


Drinking water is essential for living, but not all countries have an equal chance of getting a safe and clean cup regularly.

If you consider an average day and how often you may leave the tap running or pour out a glass of water, it can be helpful to understand how the scarcity of water affects our global community.

The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme estimates that each person in the world needs at least 20 to 50 litres of water a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and hygiene. However, more than one in six people (that's 894 million bodies around the world) don't have access to clean water.

The Ryan’s Well Foundation, based in Kemptville, Ont., is a charity built on the inspiration of Ryan Hreljac, who started raising money for wells at the age of seven, in 1998. From there, the foundation was built up, and has helped create over 270 wells and 910 latrines bringing safe water for people across the globe.

Ryan Mulligan, a project representative and intern from the foundation has come up with five easy ways on how you and your family can start saving water in your own home.

Eager to make change? Here are 5 ways you can save water in 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks and 5 months:

Photo gallery 5 Ways To Save Water See Gallery

5 Minutes: Take A Five-Minute Shower:

If you only have five minutes to spare, Ryan Mulligan recommends cutting back on your showers. "Take shorter showers. Most people think they won't have enough time but try taking a shower under five minutes," he says. On average, if you take a five-minute shower every day for a month, you can save up to 3,800 litres of water in your household.

5 Hours: Fix A Leak:

Drip. Drip. Drip. That annoying sound of dripping water that wakes you up in the middle of the night could be wasting about 90 litres of water, according to Mulligan. In five hours, try fixing all your leaks around the house or install a water-saving faucet.

5 Days: Go Meatless:

Try a vegetarian dish! A week is a lot of time to save water and for five days, Mulligan thinks we should be thinking bigger. "Go meatless for five days. From start to finish, it takes a lot of water to grow crops that feed animals to cleaning meat before you eat it," he says. A piece of steak for example, from start to finish, can use up to 7,000 litres of water.

5 Weeks: Update Your Home:

Five weeks gives you enough time to update key areas in your home. Get a rain water barrel and use collected rain water to water your garden and plants, Mulligan says. He also recommends letting your grass grow a little longer before mowing the lawn to avoid over-watering your greens.

5 Months: Flush Less And Learn More:

In five months, there's a lot you can do to save water. For starters, putting a brick into your toilet tank can increase your tank's water level and decrease the amount of water that's being used during flushing, Mulligan says. His team also encourages Canadians to dig a little deeper into the impacts of water in developing countries and read a little bit more about how scarce and limited water is for many countries, and find out what they can do to help.