NDSU Extension Service
We should all be looking for ways we can save water around the house, and fortunately there are many options available to help conserve it.
When brushing teeth, we can fill a glass with water and use that to wet the brush and rinse our mouth.
We can check faucets to be sure they are not dripping and install restrictors in shower heads to lessen water use during showers. Shortening our shower time or opting for baths limits water use, too. We can turn off the water as we lather our hands and only run the dishwasher when it s completely full.
Installing a water-conserving toilet, which uses half the amount of water older toilets do, can lessen water use. In the summer, using rainwater on your plants also conserves water.
Water can have devastating effects when it s present in our environment in too high or low amounts, but we all need a safe supply for survival. Our bodies, which are made of 60 to 70 per cent water, need an ongoing supply.
The amount of water a person needs per day depends on many factors.thinkstock
Keeping our bodies well hydrated is critical, but how much should we drink each day? You may be familiar with the eight-by-eight rule, meaning eight glasses of fluid per day with eight ounces in each glass. Many professionals recommend eight to nine cups of water and fluid from beverages per day for women and 13 cups for men. This accounts for about 80 per cent of your daily fluid intake. The other 20 per cent is from water contained in food.
Some fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, contain more than 90 per cent water. However, your water needs are very individualized and depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and your location.
Hot and humid weather and high altitudes increase sweating, urination and breathing, so more fluids may be needed in these conditions. Sickness with a fever, vomiting and diarrhea all increase your fluid needs. Women who are pregnant or lactating need more fluids.
You need more fluids during exercise. For exercises that make you sweat and last less than an hour, be sure to hydrate before you exercise. If you exercise for longer than an hour, a good rule of thumb is six ounces of fluid every 15 minutes. This is about the fluid amount in a small Styrofoam coffee cup.
Generally, if you rarely feel thirsty and continually have light-coloured urine, you probably are getting enough. However, do not go by thirst alone. As we age, our thirst mechanism diminishes. You already are somewhat dehydrated if you feel thirsty.
Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.