By Greenville County Soil & Water Conservation District

We live on a planet with finite natural resources – and you don’t have to be a Prius-driving tree hugger to recognize the value in conserving them. Water is one of those resources. Our rivers and groundwater supplies, which represent less than 2% of all the water on Earth, keep us fed, fueled, and clothed – and as thanks, our growing population turns around and demands more.

But there isn’t more fresh water to be had. Instead, each of us must work within our means to conserve and protect the limited supply we do have. The good news is that you’re probably already doing more than you realize. If you frequent thrift stores or use popular apps like Poshmark and OfferUp, you’re doing more than conserving dollars – you’re conserving water, too. There’s a hidden water footprint behind everything we buy. From seed to store, one new cotton t-shirt requires 766 gallons of water to make. A pair of blue jeans? 2,900. These numbers, however shocking, present us with opportunities to redefine our relationship with soil, water, and other natural resources we depend on daily.

Find out how you and your family are already conserving water with this checklist – and learn some new ways to be an environmentalist along the way.

  • Buy and/or donate secondhand items
  • Recycle used auto oil and/or cooking oil
  • Keep yard waste (grass clippings, leaves, etc.) away from storm drains
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn as a natural fertilizer
  • Capture rainwater with a rain barrel
  • Wash cars on the lawn
  • Avoid using pesticides & herbicides
  • Follow directions when using fertilizer
  • Have flowers, trees & other wildlife-friendly habitat
  • Grow my own food
  • Turn off the water when brushing my teeth, doing dishes, etc.
  • Avoid single-use plastics by bringing a reusable water bottle, bag, etc.
  • Turn off the lights when I leave a room
  • Use LED lightbulbs
  • Walk, ride a bike, catch the bus or carpool whenever I can
  • Choose meals without meat
  • Reuse and recycle
  • Compost food scraps and/or leaves, twigs & grass
  • Don’t litter & pick up safe litter I find on the ground
  • Pick up my dog’s waste

For more information on how you can help conserve natural resources, visit

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