Water conservation is a series of methods aimed at reducing our use of freshwater resources. Water conservation methods range from conservation methods like water monitoring and conservation-friendly building codes instituted by the government, to strategies for everyday people to reduce home water use.\nProper water management is important for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons include:\n\n- __Water is a resource__. The current water supply on Earth comes from surface water runoff, groundwater, and snow. This supply comes from the same sources that have been used for thousands of years, which is threatened by overdevelopment, pollution, and global warming. Only three percent of the Earth’s water supply is made up of freshwater, with only half a percent of that available for human consumption. Saltwater from the ocean cannot be consumed unless it is desalinated, which is a costly process involving a great deal of energy consumption.\n- __Conservation alleviates droughts__. Dry areas like deserts experience drought regularly, in which the rainfall and snowfall aren’t adequate and cause a water shortage. [Conserving water](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-conserve-water) can help alleviate the effects of water shortages in any given community.\n- __Water use drains other resources__. Using in-house water resources requires energy to deliver the water to your home. This energy-use increases when you use hot water since a lot of energy goes into heating. Reducing the amount of hot and cold water you use can help conserve both water and energy, cutting down on energy pollution which harms the environment.\nLarge-scale water conservation can be implemented on the institutional and societal level, in order to make a significant difference in the amount of clean water we have. Below are some methods that government, businesses, and agriculture can do to conserve this natural resource: \n\n1. __Updating to modern irrigation methods__. Updating agricultural methods to adhere to water-efficient systems like drip irrigation—which distributes small amounts of water across large areas, which drips down to roots of plants—can help save thousands of gallons of water per year wasted by traditional irrigation methods. Using modern irrigation methods for industries like farming and agriculture can save water by reducing runoff waste and evaporation. \n2. __Increasing forest cover__. Increasing forest cover by planting trees and fighting deforestation can reduce the amount of rainfall lost to evaporation and help conserve groundwater. Trees are more drought-tolerant than most crops, and planting more trees along river beds and reservoirs can further protect our water resources from disappearing or contamination. \n3. __Water conservation legislation__. Only half of one percent of all freshwater on Earth is drinkable, which makes protecting our water supply extremely important. Governmental bodies like the EPA (or Environmental Protection Association) can institute legislation to stop businesses from dumping waste in precious water resources, which can contaminate groundwater and reduce the amount available for use. They can also institute water conservation programs requiring businesses to be more transparent about their water footprint. Our institutions can limit the amount of water wasted and lost through human activities every year by taking an active role in conserving and protecting our consumable water. \n4. __Water redistribution__. Canals, pipes, and other irrigation systems can help make use of excess water storage by collecting and redistributing that water to areas affected by drought or lack of rainfall. Redistributing water cuts down on waste, while also delivering much-needed water to the places that need it most. \n5. __Better incentives__. Many agricultural subsidies from the government are distributed to farmers who produce corn for animal feed or ethanol, rather than for human consumption. This leaves the food industry with a disproportionate market that can affect the prices on goods everywhere. Adopting water conservation policies that offer more incentives for agricultural businesses that produce food can give farmers the tools they need to both afford and implement the right strategies in conserving water.\nThere are many ways people can reduce their use of water. Read on for some ways to lower your everyday water consumption.\n\n1. __Update your appliances__. Many old appliances use significantly more water than modern water-efficient and water-saving ones. Research the toilets, faucets, showerheads, dishwashers, and clothes washers in your home to determine how much water they use, and look into options that use less water, like dual-flush toilets or low-flow showerheads. \n2. __Take shorter showers__. For every minute in the shower, your showerhead can use up to ten gallons of water. Try reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower every day, to a maximum of five minutes, or turn off the water in between rinses to conserve water while you’re bathing.\n3. __Use the dishwasher, if possible__. It may seem counterintuitive, but washing dishes by hand typically uses more water than the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwater, there are ways to conserve water during the washing process. Simply turn off the water when you wash dishes, instead of letting it run.\n4. __Skip the garbage disposal__. Garbage disposal units use up a lot of water. Instead of sending chunks of food down the drain, toss them into a compost pile to save water and reduce food waste.\n5. __Turn off the water when brushing your teeth__. Letting the faucet run when you brush your teeth is an unnecessary waste of water. Conserve water by turning the faucet off when brushing.\n6. __Store drinking water in the fridge__. For people who drink tap water out of the faucet, running the water until it gets cold is a natural habit—but it wastes a lot of water in the process. Rather than drinking cold water straight from the faucet, fill reusable bottles or pitchers up with lukewarm sink water and store them in the fridge, which allows them to get cold without running water down the drain.\n7. __Check for leaky faucets__. Leaky faucets can waste up to 20 gallons of water every day. If you know you have a faucet that drips, fix it, or replace it as soon as possible to save water (and your utility budget). Even if you don’t think your faucets are leaking, check periodically to make sure. To detect a leak, check your water meter over two hours when water is not in use at your home. If the water usage changes, you have a leak. Making sure your water systems are efficient will help avoid wasting water.\nGet the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/) for exclusive access to video lessons taught by masters, including Jane Goodall, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Paul Krugman, and more.\nThe efforts of water conservation aim to conserve the freshwater resources available on the planet.