So, funny story. I’m attending the American Association of Zookeepers conference and our hotel experienced a water outage. They had to turn off all the water to the entire hotel for the afternoon while fixing the issue. Okay, so if you’re staying at the hotel, maybe it’s not so funny. But then I realized this might be a perfect opportunity to discuss water conservation.

Yes, losing water for the entire afternoon kind of sucked, especially when they closed even the public bathrooms. We tend to take water for granted. Water is used to clean ourselves, hydrate our bodies, and make the world go around. It’s a very necessary and vital part of our existence. But we never think about how much we use it until it’s not there.

The good part about the water shut-down is we made close to 1000 people conserve water for about 5 hours here in Denver. You couldn’t flush the toilet (which is why they ended up closing the bathrooms, I guess they thought it was gross for public bathrooms not to be flushed). Washing hands was out unless you had hand sanitizer. Working out wasn’t an option unless you’re okay with staying sweaty afterwards.

Of course, there were complaints. Regardless if they were justified, it didn’t end the water outage. I started thinking how other cultures get by where water is scarce. And I discussed with some conference attendees ways I have been raised to conserve water.

Bath Time

You know how the water is freezing cold when you first turn on the shower? My mom taught me a great water conservation technique for the shower. While warming up the water, place a large bucket to collect that water. When the water is warm enough, remove the bucket. After your shower, pour the water into your washing machine. When you go to do laundry, your tub will be mostly full, and won’t waste water to fill up.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for us right now in our current living situation, since we share laundry facilities with our landlord. But we have been practicing this for years, and it’s a small simple way to save water.

There is also the practice of turning off the water while you brush your teeth. I admit, I’m figuring out a way to make my oral hygiene routine more conserving. I use a water flosser now, along with brushing my teeth and salt water rinse. My toothpaste is a little on the messy side, and I feel guilty about wasting water while rinsing. But I also have to fill my water flosser, and use warm water for my salt water rinse. I’m trying to figure out how to manage brushing my teeth, filling the water flosser basin and my cup all at the same time. I’ll let you know how I manage.

Stay Hydrated: Save Water

Water really does make the world go round. To make anything, you need water. It takes 22 gallons of water to make one pound of plastic. Which means it takes twice as much water to MAKE the drinking water bottles as there is IN the bottle itself. So, even if you recycle religiously, it still wastes water to buy water bottles. It is much more environmental to use a reusable cup or bottle. I have my trusty water bottle, and it’s a staple at nearly every AAZK conference to give attendees a free reusable cup.

I feel I drink more water, at least the proper amount of water, when I have a water bottle or cup with me. It makes drinking convenient and easy. If I feel remotely thirsty (or hungry), I take a sip of water. It’s especially important here in Denver, where many people suffer from altitude sickness. And especially at a conference where hydration helps you stay alert and healthy for the duration of the event.

We did eventually get the water back on, and I was able to do a quick workout in the gym and shower before hitting the town for dinner. But the issue was an important reminder for how we treat water, how we conserve it, and how much we depend on it.

What has water done for you today? Have you hugged your water today?