Marina Freire Gormaly: Reducing Water Usage

In Marina’s first post, she explains how she plans to reduce her water usage for the month.

September 15, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I’ve pledged to reduce my water consumption. Although I’ve been conscious about it these past two weeks, this is the first time I’ve started sharing my experiences. It’s been a busy start to term. As a first-year PhD student, courses and research took priority for the first week of school. Now, I’ve settled back into the routine, and am excited to share with you my experiences. As the external liaison of the University of Toronto’s Environmental Research Network, I’ve seen a ton of exciting sustainability related funding applications over the years. I hope you will be inspired to take on a pledge, and perhaps even take on leading a workshop or event related to water. Remember to apply for funding if it relates to UTERN’s mandate.

When I started this pledge, I thought it would be a breeze. How hard can it be to take shorter showers or to not waste water? Now that I’m into the throws of the school year, I’ve realized it is a lot harder than I originally anticipated.

Here are some of the ways I’ve tried to reduce my direct and indirect water consumption.

  1. Take showers between 3-5min long. This is particularly challenging for me. It’s taken me a few times to stick to 6mins. I plan to reduce it to even shorter ones by the end of the challenge.
  2. Using a re-usable mug every time I purchase a beverage. This represents a challenge for me, since sometimes in between a three-hour class there’s hardly enough time to buy the coffee in the store, let alone run to the office to pick up the re-usable mug. To overcome this, I’ve started to make a tea/coffee in my office before class in my re-usable mug. Then if I feel I need another, it will be with me.
  3. I personally don’t have a dish washer. Washing dishes represents another large use of water in my daily activities. Instead of letting the water run while I soap my dishes, I’ve started to use a little bit of water to get the sponge soapy, then scrubbing my dishes, and then doing a quick rinse. It seems to require much less water than the previous method.

This video relates to the use of paper towels after hand-washing. Wicking lets you use just one if you fold it!

If you have any tips you think I should try out, or if you’ve implemented a few of your own, feel free to post them on the blog! Looking forward to hearing your stories too!

-Marina

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