Blog Action Day, a yearly event for bloggers to spread awareness of important global issues, is concentrating on the topic of Water in 2010. is proud to participate in its second Blog Action Day, focusing on water reuse and conservation issues.

I live in the Phoenix metropolitan area, smack dab in the center of the Sonoran Desert. When this year’s Blog Action Day topic list went out for voting, I immediately voted for water and sure enough, I wasn’t alone. Now that Blog Action Day is upon us, I want to encourage my fellow desert dwellers to reduce their water usage.

Phoenix's lush landscaping isn't without the cost of severe water usage.

How to reduce your water usage

  • Low-flow plumbing — Switch your showerhead out to a new one with a 1.5-GPM flow rate. This is a quick and easy fix, and if I can do it myself, you can as well.
  • Limit showers — Switching from a 10-minute shower to a five-minute shower could save you 7.5 gallons of water for each shower you take. This reduces your water usage by 225 gallons per month and 2,700 gallons annually if you take one shower per day.
  • Xeriscaping — If you have a lawn, ditch it. Speaking from experience here, lawns are water hogs. We don’t live in an area that gets enough water to keep a lawn alive, so forgo this landscaping upgrade. Our front yard is filled with beautiful granite rocks now.
  • Combine laundry loads — If you have kids, wash their lights with your lights and their darks with yours. Although you have the extra step of sorting the laundry afterward, you do save a washer full of water with each combined load.
  • Running water — When you’re washing dishes by hand or brushing your teeth, don’t leave the water running. This simple step could save you gallons of water per day.
  • Fruits and vegetables — Rinse your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water. Simply fill a pan with water, which prevents any water from going down the drain, and once you’re done you can water your houseplants with this water.
There are many more ways to reduce your water usage, and these are just a few ideas. What are your favorite ways to conserve water?

Why reduce your water usage

Now that you know how you can quickly change your water usage (with the exception of pulling out your lawn), you might need some motivation, and this is where the “why” comes into play. Although the Phoenix metro area is not currently in a drought, the majority of Arizona is either abnormally dry or in a moderate drought, with a small pocket of the state in a severe drought. The Colorado River runs right through the driest parts of my state. The majority of Colorado is also experiencing drought or near-drought conditions. Guess where the Colorado River originates? That’s right, Colorado. According to the Central Arizona Project, 32% of the state’s water comes from the Colorado River. Arizona’s growing population, the ongoing dry conditions in the region, and the possible reallocation of Colorado River resources could lead to supply concerns. Water is a finite resource. While people in developing countries have problems accessing clean water, those of us living in an arid climate may be taking our instant water access for granted. So, I encourage all desert dwellers to reduce their water usage now, before it becomes an even bigger concern in the future. For more information on water issues, visit the Blog Action Day website.