Some of us live in areas where we get plenty of rain all year round, maybe even too much. However, in other areas water supplies can run low quickly, especially in summer.
It is everyone’s responsibility to conserve this essential natural resource when we can. And even if we are a little careful with our water usage habits, we can make a big difference. Here is some advice on how you can conserve water around the home.
In the kitchen
- See if you can redirect wastewater from the kitchen sink to the garden. Also, use a bowl when washing dishes so you don’t just leave the tap running.
- If you have a dishwasher wait until you have a full load and use the economy cycle, again reducing the amount of water used. Also before putting the dirty plates etc. into the dishwasher, scrape the leftovers into the bin rather than rinsing under the running tap.
- Wait until there is a full load before washing your dirty clothes and front loaders use less water than top loaders.
In the garden
- Water your garden early in the morning or just before sunset. This allows the water to be absorbed into the ground instead of evaporating in the hot sun if you water during the day. Also, the water droplets left on the leaves from the watering can damage your plants if the sun is too hot, so better wait until it cools down.
- If you have directed your bathroom and kitchen water to the garden and connected to garden hoses around the garden, puncture the hoses with holes that will allow the water to filter out from various places instead of from one end only. This lets the water penetrate to a deeper level and encourages the plant roots to grow longer and stronger and therefore enhances the plants’ own search for water.
- Water sprinklers are time-savers but do use huge quantities of water if left on for long periods of time. They can use 300 650 litres of water an hour. If left on overnight, that’s a minimum of 2,400 litres! It is best only to use them for shorter periods of time, however, look for alternatives if possible.
- Rainwater is a free, natural and easy source of water. Get a large tank or water butt and place it where the roof water from your home runs off. This will fill quickly in a big rain and provide a great source of water for the garden, or even for washing.
In the bathroom
- Flushing a toilet can use between 12 – 20 litres of water. You can put a brick or a plastic bottle filled with water into the toilet cistern and this will reduce the water you use. Or you can install dual flush toilets where you can opt for a small or a large flush.
- Up to 4.5 litres of water is wasted when we brush our teeth because most people leave the tap running. Turn the tap off when cleaning your teeth or, even better, have a bottle of water and glass near the basin and use these to rinse instead of running the tap every time you brush.
- Showers are much more environmentally friendly than baths. Even if you use the shower, you may still be able to reduce the amount of water you use. Install a low-flow showerhead if you can get one. Also, spray taps release smaller amounts of water but do the same job as a normal tap and these can be fitted to your bathroom and kitchen sinks.
- Throw your rubbish in the bin and not down the toilet.
- Consider ways to get water from the shower to the garden and use this water for your plants.
These tips are not only directed at private households but to businesses as well. If you own or manage a business, or even if you feel your employer could do better when it comes to conserving water, try to use some of these methods at work. It is in all our interests that we have a plentiful and reliable supply of water.
If you introduce these habits and measures slowly into your routine you will find that it really will have no impact on your day-to-day life, but you will save a lot of water.