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Published on October 23rd, 2014 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg


Lessons Learned from Limiting My Water Use: You Don’t Waste What You Don’t Have

water use limited by drought

I’m still thinking about my 4 Liters Challenge from a few weeks ago – it’s amazing how much we take a resource like water for granted! While a number of things I learned stand out, I constantly come back to turning on the water without even thinking about it – I had to catch myself a number of times throughout my challenge. It struck me that availability itself leads to waste – when you assume something’s going to be there, as we tend to do with our water use, you don’t pay much attention to how you’re using it.

But some of us are learning this lesson the harder way: when drought strikes, or when our water sources become contaminated. Suddenly that resource you just assumed would be there isn’t, and you become much more careful with how you’re using it. You find yourself planning ahead, limiting certain activities, and even looking at alternatives for acquiring more water.

One technology that we don’t see much here in the US – not yet, anyway – is the atmospheric water generator, which literally pulls moisture from the air. Low-tech versions of this have been around for centuries; newer machines sold by companies like Molecule Water Tech function much like dehumidifiers (except, of course, they turn the moisture collected into potable water). For those facing a water crisis, or simply concerned about the quality of their water source, an AWG can literally be a lifesaver.

But an AWG is not going to produce the amount of water consumed by the typical American family – four hundred gallons a day. From what I’ve seen from a little research, eight gallons a day seems more standard for these machines, and that depends on the humidity levels where they’re used. Once relative humidity drops below 35%, the amount of water drops, too. Mindfulness of your water use becomes critical (even though you’re still getting twice as much water as many people around the world) – long, hot showers and running the water until it heats up/cools down are no longer options.

Of course, it’s always best to plan ahead for these kinds of eventualities… so, what does your family do to prepare for a water shortage? Most of us don’t do much, I realize,but if you’ve taken steps – whether buying an atmospheric water generator, or something more basic – share them with us. Then, let us know how you plan to make do with less availability of this necessary resource.

Image credit: Shutterstock

This post was generously supported by Molecular Water Tech

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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at

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