phelps intv
phelps intv
Now playing
03:38
Michael Phelps advocates smart water habits
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 03:  Michael Phelps prepares to swim in the Men's 100 meter freestyle heat race during the Longhorn Aquatics Elite Invite on June 3, 2016 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Tom Pennington/Getty Images/file
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 03: Michael Phelps prepares to swim in the Men's 100 meter freestyle heat race during the Longhorn Aquatics Elite Invite on June 3, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:40
Michael Phelps shares battle with depression
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28:  American swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps testifies during a hearing before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee February 28, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held a hearing on "Ways to Improve and Strengthen the International Anti-Doping System."  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: American swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps testifies during a hearing before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee February 28, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held a hearing on "Ways to Improve and Strengthen the International Anti-Doping System." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:51
Michael Phelps: Doping is too prevalent
michael phelps speaks swimming dark days coy wire intvw_00031118.jpg
michael phelps speaks swimming dark days coy wire intvw_00031118.jpg
Now playing
03:32
Michael Phelps reveals darkest moment
Olympics Rio Michael Phelps career_00004215.jpg
Olympics Rio Michael Phelps career_00004215.jpg
Now playing
02:21
Michael Phelps cements Olympic legacy in Rio
USA's Michael Phelps poses with his gold medal during the podium ceremony of the Men's swimming 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 13, 2016.
PHOTO: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
USA's Michael Phelps poses with his gold medal during the podium ceremony of the Men's swimming 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 13, 2016.
Now playing
01:27
Phelps wins 23rd gold medal in final Olympic race
Michael Phelps reacts after his seventh place finish in the Men's 100 Meter Freestyle Final during the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships at the Woollett Aquatic Center on August 6, 2014 in Irvine, California.
PHOTO: Harry How/Getty Images
Michael Phelps reacts after his seventh place finish in the Men's 100 Meter Freestyle Final during the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships at the Woollett Aquatic Center on August 6, 2014 in Irvine, California.
Now playing
00:52
Michael Phelps opens up on alcohol use
TOPSHOT - USA's Michael Phelps kisses his gold medal on the podium of the Men's 4x100m Freestyle Relay Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016.   / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS        (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - USA's Michael Phelps kisses his gold medal on the podium of the Men's 4x100m Freestyle Relay Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:52
Michael Phelps is ...

Caption:MESA, AZ - APRIL 25: Michael Phelps speaks at a press conference after competing in the Men's 50m Freestyle prelim during day two of the Arena Grand Prix at the Skyline Aquatic Center on April 25, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Christian Petersen/Getty Images/FILE
Caption:MESA, AZ - APRIL 25: Michael Phelps speaks at a press conference after competing in the Men's 50m Freestyle prelim during day two of the Arena Grand Prix at the Skyline Aquatic Center on April 25, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:30
Michael Phelps suspended by USA Swimming
Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps (L) and his fiancee Nicole Johnson (R) take a selfie with their son Boomer (C) at Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska, Minnesota on September 26, 2016, ahead of the 41st Ryder Cup.  / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps (L) and his fiancee Nicole Johnson (R) take a selfie with their son Boomer (C) at Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska, Minnesota on September 26, 2016, ahead of the 41st Ryder Cup. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:05
Phelps on son being an Instagram star, Ryder Cup (2016)

Editor’s Note: Michael Phelps is a 23-time Olympic gold medalist, founder of the Michael Phelps Foundation, author and a global ambassador for Colgate’s Save Water campaign. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN) —  

As a lifelong swimmer, I have made spending time in the water a critical part of my daily routine. And I’ve wanted others to have access to a similar experience, which is why I started the Michael Phelps Foundation in 2008: to expand opportunities for kids to get into the water and live healthy, active lives.

Since my retirement in 2016, I’ve admittedly been swimming a bit less – instead focusing my time on building my family. But a deep love of water will always be a part of my life. It’s helped to shape me into the man I am today, and it’s what’s fueling me now to speak out about its significance.

Michael Phelps
PHOTO: Colgate
Michael Phelps

These days, nothing makes my wife, Nicole, and me smile more than our two young sons. We have a lot of laughs playing with our kids, especially splashing around during their bath time at home or enjoying being outside as a family.

In these moments, I’ve also come to realize just how precious water is. While it is a renewable resource, we do not have an endless supply of clean, easily available water for our families. Two years away from the life of a competitive swimmer, I want to help educate children and adults about one of the most precious resources we have (and need) on Earth: water.

While the Earth’s surface consists of approximately 70% water, the majority of it is ocean water, which we can’t naturally consume. Considering that we all need fresh, potable water to live, we also need to be more mindful of our water saving habits as we all play a role in helping preserve this precious resource.

It’s not easy, of course. There are many elements beyond our control, but there are proactive steps we can take with our own water usage and work to reduce excess consumption. In an effort to take the first step toward reforming my own water usage, I’m continuing my work as Global Ambassador for Colgate’s Save Water initiative.

According to current estimates, 42% of Americans claim to leave the faucet running while brushing their teeth. Together, if we can make a simple change in our behavior like turning off the faucet while we brush, we can help save up to four gallons of water. That’s the same as 64 glasses of water every time we brush for two minutes!

Get our free weekly newsletter

But that’s not all we can do. Repairing a leaky faucet, taking shorter and less frequent showers and only running the dishwasher when it’s full can also make a difference. After all, every drop counts.

I am committed to raising awareness of water conservation in the United States and around the world. I challenge everyone to think about their own water habits and to take small steps to help preserve water. My family will be doing our best to make some changes in our consumption patterns, and we will share them on social media. I hope you do, too. The more that each of us spreads the word, the better the world will be for our fellow Americans, our global family and the next generation.