Midwinter is when the gardening bug strikes me, because I’m so much in need of greenery and flowers (and folic acid!). One thing I’m doing is growing sprouts, sick of the high prices and dreariness of the salad greens in the shops (they’re clearly labelled as coming from California, with signs apologizing for the high price).

I was rinsing my sprouts last night, filling the jar with tap water and letting it run out through the screen lid, and realized that while it’s cheap to grow sprouts (one tablespoon of alfalfa seed makes a quart of crunchy salad stuff) this form of agriculture requires a prodigious amount of pure clean water.

Water is fast approaching fossil fuels as the resource we’ll be battling over. And there’s no substitute for it, no way to make it or capture it from space (as we can grab energy from sunlight streaming down to earth). For a start, let’s start looking at water afresh, appreciating what we have (safe tap water, clean clothes, and hot showers whenever we like). Then we can work together to find ways to ensure that our grandchildren, too, as well as other children around the world, will be able to enjoy these things.

What to do?

Not only can you just get used to turning the tap–whoops, in the US we call this a faucet–on and off more. Perhaps the very most important way to save water is to make sure it’s not just leaking or dripping away. A drip of one drop per second can easily waste 2,700 gallons of water over the course of a year!! A hot water tap is even more problematic, and expensive.

But plumbers are expensive, too, so my resolution this month is to order–and use–a book I’ve long known about: Dare to Repair: A Do-it-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home. My daughter and I will fix a leak or two ourselves and report back!