March 1 is Ash Wednesday, a day observed by many Christians as the beginning of their Lenten season.  Without delving too heavily into theology, lent is a 40 day and 40 night-long period prior to Easter, which many observe by giving something up; like meat, or desserts, cigarettes, or some other treat or vice.  This is a form of discipline – literally a form of training, usually involving negative reinforcement.  Incidentally, discipline shares the same root word as “disciple.”

Aren’t we all water disciplines, in our own way?  We restrict a few of life’s simple pleasures: long showers, vibrant grassy green lawns, and our favorite foods, in order to conserve something greater than ourselves: clean, drinkable water. 

Making radical life changes can be hard: I get it.  Few of us are born in an environment of scarcity, especially those of us born and raised within the United States.  That’s why we must discipline ourselves to resist the allure and ease of the tap.  And regardless of your religious leanings, there are plenty of lessons we can take from Lenten aesthetics.

So for this Lenten season, we suggest you give up a water-wasting habit just for 40 days.  That’s just a little over a month.  When Easter morning arrives, you can re-evaluate.  Perhaps, after your season of sacrifice, you’ll realize that the lifestyle shift wasn’t as intimidating as you’d originally feared, and stick with your discipline afterward.  Perhaps you’ll decide some pleasures aren’t worth giving up.  Either way, you’ve done your part for 40 days, and the earth thanks you for your efforts.

Not sure what to discipline to adopt?  Take a look at our suggestions below:

-          Go vegetarian

-          Time your showers, and never keep the water running longer than 5 minutes

-          Avoid buying any new clothes, shoes, or electronics.  If you must buy something, purchase used or refurbished.

-          Take public transit instead of driving yourself.

-          Cook your own meals from scratch

-          Install a rain barrel

-          Install a greywater system

-          Build an outdoor shower and do all your showering outside

-          Live plastic-free (yes, it’s do-able)

-          Replace grass with drought-tolerant plants

-          If it’s yellow, let it

Are you up to the water Lenten challenge?  If so, share what you’re giving up with #H2Go to help spread the news.