World Water Day is March 22nd.Think about how vital our water resources are and how much we consume – from personal use to agriculture and manufacturing, everything requires water. Did you know it takes about 1,800 gallons to produce one pound of beef; more than 30,000 gallons for a new car; and about 6.6 billion gallons to run the Marine Corps for a year? That’s how much water we used on our bases and stations in FY15 – enough to fill almost 1,000 Olympic swimming pools.

Only about one percent of the water on our planet is fresh water for human use. For most Americans, water scarcity isn’t a top concern, and many of us take access to water for granted. However, 40 states are expecting water shortages in the next decade, and California, home to four Marine Corps installations, is already feeling the effects of water shortages. In response to the historic drought, BGen Edward Banta, Commanding General, MCIWEST, issued policy in May 2015 to reduce non-mission-critical water use at MCB Camp Pendleton.

Even if you aren’t in California, it’s every Marine and family’s responsibility to use only the water needed. Here are some easy tips to start soaking up the water savings today: 

  • Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth, wash your face, or shave.
  • Run your dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load.
  • Limit the amount of time you water your lawn, and follow any restrictions in your area – only watering early in the morning or in the evening, so the hot sun doesn’t quickly evaporate water off the ground.
  • Take shorter showers – even try a “combat shower” by turning the water off while you lather, if you’re feeling ambitious and moto!
  • Monitor your home and water bill for signs of water leaks. The average household’s water leaks waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year, according to the EPA. If you find water leaks that you can’t fix, report them to maintenance or facilities staff. 

Smart use of water is not only good for our resources, but also for the bottom line. In addition to the energy required to heat, filter, and pressurize water, the Marine Corps spends around $40 million on water-related costs annually.

For more ways to save water, check out these tips from EPA Watersense. You can also test your water sense, calculate how much money smart water use can save you, and teach your children why conserving water is important!

For more money saving tips contact your local Personal Financial Management Program office. The Personal Financial Management Program offers workshops and seminars on more than twenty money management topics. To learn more and find a workshop near you, click here.