How tap water saves the sea

Spring, rivulet, brook, river, stream; drizzle, rain, cloudburst; drop, puddle, pool, pond, lake, sea, ocean. In our language, we have a great treasure trove of words for water in all its manifestations, and each of these words immediately conjures up images and memories in our minds. From the first drop on the skin heralding a warm summer rain to the vastness of the ocean where the whales live – water is always something very special, and often stunningly beautiful.

But water is, of course, also indispensable to us for practical reasons. We drink it, we use it in hot water bottles and even as an excuse for singing (in the shower). We need water to wash ourselves and our laundry, we need it for heating, for swimming and even for flushing the toilet. And in Germany, we are very lucky because water of first-class quality comes out of the tap in almost unlimited quantities.

So it’s all the more surprising that we (often) don’t drink this fantastic water. The average German bought over 130 litres of bottled water in 2020, [1] even though mineral water is less strictly controlled than tap water and generally offers no health benefits. One could shrug this off and dismiss the weekly water bottle lugging as an expensive but harmless hobby – if it weren’t so massively damaging to the environment. In Germany alone, 17.4 billion disposable bottles are consumed every year, generating 450,000 tons of waste which, if they end up in rivers and oceans, make life difficult for the animals there. Water bottles made from glass are not particularly sustainable either. The production and transport of the heavy bottles generates a lot of CO2 – especially if the water is not sold regionally but transported across the entire country.

The first rule for a conscious and careful use of water is therefore: Do not buy bottled water! It is better to fill a BPA-free bottle with the available tap water. If the water is particularly hard, you can run it through a water filter beforehand – and if you like it fizzy, you can add carbon dioxide with the appropriate equipment.

Of course there are a few more possibilites to reduce the water consumption in your everyday life:

1. Just switch it off

Compared with a bubble bath, taking a showering saves a lot of water – and even more energy!

2. Water stop

Almost every toilet flush now has a stop button that can significantly reduce water consumption.

3. Washing – but in the right way

Load washing machines carefully and use economy programmes. Nowadays, detergents achieve cleanliness even at low temperatures.

4. From vegetables to plants

When washing vegetables, use a bowl instead of running water – afterwards, you can use it to water your flowers.

5. Water footprint

You can also waste a lot of water indirectly – for example, when you buy meat and dairy products. Maybe there is a delicious vegan alternative? What do you think – do you have what it takes to be a water warrior? Why not try one of the tips above? If many people join in, even small things have a big impact!