Water is life

There are small everyday gestures that can make all the difference

Photo credits: Aaron Burden_unsplash

In May, severe drought affected almost the entire Portuguese mainland. The news based on data shared by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) should alarm us. Quite.

A meteorological drought situation worsened throughout the territory at the end of May with a very significant increase in the area in severe drought, now standing at 97%,1 as a percentage of the territory. According to the drought meteorological index (PDSI), in April it was 4,3%.

Drought situations are frequent in mainland Portugal, with the regions south of the Tagus being the most susceptible and affected, with disastrous consequences for agriculture, livestock, water resources and our well-being. I remember when, as a child, there were moments of drought, the water didn't come out of the tap and how it disturbed me.

We need to be aware of this serious problem and contribute with small gestures so that we do not reach the point where we are faced with measures to ration water consumption.

What can we do then?

I share with you seven simple and sustainable measures that you can apply starting today.

1 – Turn off the tap while washing your hands or teeth

To brush your teeth, use a glass of water (instead of the cascade of water gushing from the faucet while rubbing your teeth and cheek). When washing your hands, turn off the faucet while soaping them. If you have children, teach them to do the same.

2 – Turn off the faucet while washing the dishes by hand

If you don't have a good bowl, fill the sink with water and turn off the tap. Turn it on only when you need to remove excess foam. That's how my grandmother did it. By the way, see if your detergent is effective and don't abuse it. Respect the amounts indicated for each wash. Save water, time and money.

3 – Use the water to wash your food

Bom do alguidar can also be used here. When washing the lettuce leaves, the tomatoes, the fruit, place the bowl underneath and then use this water to water the plants or even flush the toilet.

4 – Enjoy the water at the beginning of the shower

If you like showers with very hot water, from today onwards you will realize the amount of water that you waste (was) unnecessarily. Solution: have a container nearby (a bucket, really) and enjoy this water. If you think it's "ridiculous", remember this: there are people on the planet who travel miles to get the same amount of water — to cook food, to drink — that you're wasting just for the pleasure of a hot shower. A wasted bucket of water: a luxury for you, a necessity for thousands of people.

5 – Water your plants or garden at night

If you're like me and you have a balcony with aromatics and decorative plants, start watering them at night. By doing so, you avoid wasting the water that would evaporate if you did it in the morning or in the afternoon. Also, see this eventual change as a new routine, a moment of relaxation after a day at work. Only advantages.

6 – Check that there are no leaky faucets or toilets

A dripping faucet is uncomfortable and wastes a lot of water: a “ping ping” every 5 seconds wastes about 5 liters of water a day, 30 liters of water a year. That's a lot of water! So make sure your faucets are not leaking.

7 – Use your appliances intelligently

Wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be fully loaded, avoid prewashes and use «eco» programs whenever possible. Review the energy classes of your appliances and improve your home's energy efficiency. These appliances consume less water and less electricity The environment and your family budget will thank you.


Water is essential for life. The severe drought situation we are experiencing is yet another sign of global warming, of how Humanity's behavior negatively influences our planet Earth.

We can say that it is the Other's fault, whistling to the side, but the truth is that, as John Kennedy said “The essential bond that unites us is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all care about our children's future. And we are all mortal.”

There are actually small everyday gestures that can make all the difference. We just need to be more awake to what really matters.







Author: Analita Alves dos Santos is a Mother concerned with environmental issues... and not only