Water conservation involves using water efficiently and reducing unnecessary wastage.
According to the latest statistics, persons located in western countries use an average of 150 litres of water daily.
Also, each time we use water in the home, wastewater is produced. Instead of such being reused around the home, 80% of the total goes down the drain and needs to be reprocessed at considerable cost.
Why Should You Worry About Household Water Conservation?
Water is used for a myriad of purposes in the modern household. From taking showers to watering the lawn or washing the car to other tasks all of which can run into hundreds of water gallons each month.
Striving to conserve the water used in the household not only keeps the water bills lower but is also good for the environment.
When you reduce the water usage in your household, you by extension reduce the level of pollutants and contaminants being created in the collection, transportation, cleaning, and filtering processes.
Here are tips that will help you reduce the water consumption in your home:#
Water Saving Tips in the Bathroom
The largest amount of water used in any household is used in the bathroom. That being said, the bathroom is also where we can start making lifestyle changes to save this valuable resources. Through observing the following tips and tricks, you will be able to save on your water usage significantly:
- Switching to showers instead of running a bath is the first step towards conserving water. While you will need about 70 gallons of water on an average bathtub, you will need only 10-25 gallons of water if you shower for 10 minutes.
- Update your household’s showers and install AAA-rated ones. Such showerheads minimise the water output by about 9 litres per minute. Alternatively, you can have a plumber install an aerator or a flow restrictor. Which aerators minimise the amount of water your showerhead emits, they do not interfere with the water pressure.
- Did you know that on average a person uses 2.5 gallons of water for every minute you shower? Cutting your shower times by even a few minutes could make a huge difference. By keeping your shower times under 5 minutes, you could end up saving 1,000 gallons of water in a month. If this proves hard, purchase a timer or use the timer on your phone and set it at 4 or 5 minutes. Instead of leaving the shower running while you are lathering up or washing your hair, turn it off. It is frustrating to have to wait for the water to run before the shower water gets hot, therefore, install instant showers and faucets.
- You can also conserve water in the bathroom by installing steam showers. These use a powerful steam and use less water than conventional showers.
- While waiting for your shower to run hot, use a bucket to catch the cold water rather than allowing it to go down the drain. You can re-use this later.
- As you fill the bath, check the water temperatures. This helps you avoid running it too hot and later having to add cold water to cool it down. Also, fill the bathtub halfway rather than all the way up. The water levels will rise once you settle in for your bath.
- Avoid leaving the water running while you brush your teeth or when you are shaving. Instead, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and turn it on when you are ready to rinse your toothbrush. You can also use a cup rather than turning the tap on and off.
- While shaving, rinse the razors in about an inch of water in a cup as opposed to rinsing them under running water.
- Flushing the toilets account for a third of the household’s water usage therefore, it only makes sense to look for ways to conserve the water flushed. First off, avoid flushing your toilets unnecessarily. Install a cistern displacement device (CDD) in your toilets which reduces the amount of water used on each flush by one or more litres. These devices are free in most of the water companies in the United Kingdom.
- You could go a step further and replace toilets with a dual-flush or low-flash model. Such models use 4-6 or fewer litres of water compared to conventional toilets which could use up to 13 litres.
- Dispose of items such as cotton balls, make-up tissues, diapers, pads, napkins, and shaving razors in a bin rather than flushing them down the toilet. This will cut down on the amount of water you need to flush them.
- Toilet leaks can sometimes be silent. Ensure that you do not have a slow or unnoticeable leak from the cistern by putting a few drops of food colour in the cistern and check to see whether it has leaked into the bowl after one half an hour or so. If you detect a leak, call in a professional plumber or fix it yourself. Remember to test for the leak once the problem has been fixed.
- Installing a composite toilet is the most effective way of conserving water as they do not require any water to flush. Better yet, they keep pollutants and contaminants out of the waterways. However, check your local codes to be they are legal within your locality.
- Avoid washing the towels each time you use them. Instead, hang them in an open space and let them dry. In this way, you can reuse them daily while they still feel crisp and dry.
- Avoid using the washing machine on a daily basis. Bigger loads are ultimately more efficient than small but frequent loads. Before loading the clothes, make sure you pre-treat the stains to minimise the chances of having to re-wash and therefore, using additional water.
Water Saving Tips in the Kitchen
The kitchen is a great place to start practicing your water saving tips as around 10% of the household’s water is used in the kitchen. The kitchen water saving tips include:-
- Wash and rinse your fruits and vegetables in a bowl as opposed to rinsing them under running water. Plan and wash your fruit and vegetables in advance rather than washing them in small batches throughout the day. For example, rather than washing the few leaves of lettuce you need for lunch, wash the whole lettuce and cover what you will not use in a kitchen a kitchen towel.
- Switch to a dishwasher. Statistics show that a water-efficient dishwasher uses an average of 4.5 gallons of water or even less as opposed to manual washing where an average of 20 gallons are used.
- If you are for one reason or the other unable to purchase a dishwasher, ascertain that you have a plug that fits into your drainage snugly. This minimizes the seepage of water down the drain. Alternatively, use a large bowl if it can fit into your sink.
- Fill one side of your kitchen sink with rinsing water. This is more efficient than rinsing each item under a running tap. Avoid using too much dish-washing soap when washing your dishes manually. The more the soap you use, the more the rinsing water you will use.#
- Did you know that 10 minutes of rinsing the dirt on your dishes can waste up to 100 litres of water? Rather than rinsing them out before placing them in the dishwashing machine, scrap the leftovers into your dustbin. A powerful dishwasher should be able to remove stains and food particles without the pre-rinsing. If it is still unable to do the job properly, it might be time for you to replace it with something more powerful and water efficient.
- Another way of saving water while washing your dishes is to wipe them as soon as you use them. In this way, the food does not harden on the plates thus needing more water to clean them. In case you forget to do this, soak the dishes before washing them to make sure the stubborn bits are softened up. This is much more efficient than washing such under running water.
- Run a full load on your dishwasher rather than washing the utensils when it is half full. Running it multiple times and for smaller loads only leads to more water usage.
- Minimize the use of in-sink garbage disposal units. Apart from requiring a lot of water to operate, these only add up to the volume of solids that end up in your septic tank which could bring about maintenance problems.
- Avoid defrosting foods under running water. Instead, defrost food in the fridge overnight or put the items in a sink half filled with water. You can also let the foods thaw in the sun or at room temperature.
- Watch your cooking habits. Cooking with as little water as possible helps preserve water-soluble vitamins. Switch to water-efficient cooking habits including grilling, roasting and steaming as opposed to boiling. Such cooking techniques are also good for your health. Also, you will end up using more water when you use larger pans as compared to when you use smaller ones.
- There are still foods that require to be boiled. Repurpose the unsalted cooking water from such to water your plants or use it to make some gravy. Remember to wait for the boiled water to cool before watering your plants.
- Boiling a full kettle of water is energy-inefficient in addition to being water-inefficient. Rather than boiling a full kettle of water each time you fancy a cup of coffee, cut the boiling time by boiling only a few cups of water.
- Have a pitcher in your refrigerator to store your drinking water. This eliminates the need to run the tap until the water gets suitably cold. This can save as much as 10 litres of water, especially on a hot sunny day.
- Fix dripping faucets as soon as you notice them. A tap that leaks only two tablespoons per minute will have wasted water amounting to 5,500 litres in one year. Consider repairing or replacing your dishwasher too if you notice leaks.
- Install water-efficient faucet. Old faucets normally have a flow rate of around 5 gallons per minute while their newer counterparts have a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute. By replacing your old faucet with a newer one, you could save 3.5 gallons each minute you run your kitchen faucet.
- Installing tap aerators is also another way of controlling the water flow in your faucet as it cuts it by 50%. An aerator fits inside the tap’s nozzle and aerates the water flow thus enabling you to have the same water pressure but less water usage. Ensure your tap is threaded so that you can screw the replacement nozzle in place. Remember to check on the size before purchasing the aerator.
- Do not just let the water disappear into the drain. A great way of saving water is to collect the used water in a bucket and then using it on your plants, or for any other favourable use.
Saving Water Outdoors
If you are wondering how you can have a beautiful green garden while using less water, the following tips will help you out:
- As opposed to using a watering hose, make use of a watering can. In case you still feel inclined to use the former, use one with a flow controller.
- Water your garden at the right time. Overwatering your garden is not only wasteful, but it also leads to other problems such as water pooling which degrades the soil quality. Watering the plants too often weakens your plants as they develop a shallow root system. To check on whether your plants need watering, check on the condition of the soil around a spade down. If it’s damp, you do not need to water it. You can also leave the plants until they show signs of wilting. Watering your garden early in the morning or late in the night ensures that the water does not evaporate before it gets to the roots.
- Use the right amount of water. This depends on the type of soil in your garden. While light sandy soils need to be watered more often compared to clay-based types, the latter requires more water. You can also arrange your garden in blocks rather than in rows. Watering the small blocks is more efficient than spraying an entire row.
- Do not leave hoses or sprinklers unattended. While it is easy and more convenient shut-off the water with the hose’s shut-off nozzle once you are done watering your garden, always shut the water off at the faucet.
- Weed regularly so that do not end up watering the plants along with the weeds. You could use the uprooted weeds as mulch on the areas of your garden with bare soil. Mulching helps prevent other weeds from sprouting and increases the soil’s moisture retention.
- As a lawn is in most cases the thirstiest portion of your garden, let the grass grow longer during the dry season. This helps in moisture retention. Keep in mind that infrequent watering of your lawn is more effective than watering it every other day.
- If you are re-doing your lawn or re-seeding a part of it, pick grass varieties that are suited for dry conditions.
- Plant drought-resistant vegetation or native shrubs as they do not much watering.
- You can reduce the size of your lawn by erecting an outdoor living area.
- Harvest rainwater for your garden plants. You can use barrels or large cisterns for this purpose. However, cover the cisterns or barrels to prevent insect issues from developing. Most of these include a pump that turned on to increase the water flow rate.
- You can also make use of ‘greywater’ in your garden. Greywater refers to recycled water from the home apart from the toilet. This could be water from your kitchen sink or your shower which can be used on non-edible plants. Make use of low-nitrogen, low sodium, low-phosphorous, and biodegradable soaps and detergents in your household as they are more friendly for your garden.
- Select the right washing machine. Normally, the front-load model uses 50% less water, 35% less detergent and 30% less energy compared to the top-load model.
Other Ways of Saving Water in the Home
- When washing your car, use a bucket filled with soapy water instead of running a hose. Fill the bucket with fresh water once the car is ready for a rinse.
- Use a broom to sweep areas such as driveways, walkways, porches, and decks as opposed to hosing the dirt off.
- Make sure all the taps within the household are turned off properly. Regularly check for leaks and repair them accordingly. Check washers for signs of wear and tear.
- Encourage all family members to observe water-saving practices. For example, rather than buying your children toys that will require water usage, you can construct a small pool in the garden where they can play. You can also buy them remote-controlled or sports-related toys.
- Insulate the water pipes with pipe insulation foam. This enables you to get hot water faster.
- Install a water meter so as to monitor your water usage. A water meter can also help you know whether there are any hidden leakages. Read the water meter readings before and after a 2-hour span without using any water in the house. If the readings are not exactly the same, there is a leak. A professional will help you establish exactly where the leak is and also fix it.
- Report significant water losses in your neighbourhood to the property owner or to the relevant authorities. Such could include broken pipes, faulty sprinklers, free-flowing wells, and so on.
- Avoid the installation of ornamental water features such as fountains unless it uses recycled water.
- If you have a fish pond, re-use the water from the pond to water your plants.
The effects of climatic changes are now evident, with most areas experiencing an acute shortage of water.
This comes at a time when there is an ever-increasing demand for this valuable resource.
Now more than ever, we need to look into how can minimize our water usage. While some of the tips might appear insignificant, remember that every drop, quite literally, counts.
We think this guide is an invaluable resource for those wishing to conserve water.
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