Water Conservation

A tap left running wastes 10 liters of water per minute – that’s 14,400 liters a day! If it’s hot water you’re wasting energy too. Letting the tap run while we wash our hands or brush our teeth wastes up to 10 gallons; flushing used tissues uses 5. Most people lose up to 20,000 gallons of water per year in their home alone. When people live in the same house, they often share the water that they use for certain activities, such as cooking and washing clothes, so they use less water than they would if they lived in separate houses. The current trend towards smaller households means that the potential for these communal savings is reduced and the water demand is on the increase. Few homes are without a washing machine and a dishwasher these days. Power showers provide a luxurious wash and jet car wash systems claim to take the hard work out of cleaning your car. With the growing popularity of gardening, sprinklers and hosepipes are regularly used in many gardens.

Some of the consequences of using too much water are: increased reliance on dams or groundwater, I.e. at a significant environmental cost, changing habitats, lowering water table in wetlands, and entrenched attitude of wasteful water use in an arid environment. Water resources become more and more scarce.

There are so many ways to conserve water – both indoor and outdoor. Shutting off the tap while brushing your teeth or while lathering your hands could save you 4 gallons of water a minute – that’s 200 gallons a week for a family of four. Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes and you’ll save up to a 1,000 gallons of water a month. Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition your hair and you can save more than 50 gallons a week. If you install a low-flow showerhead, you can save your family more than 500 gallons of water a week.

To save water and time, consider washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower. Running your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full could save you up to 1000 gallons of water a month. Fixing leaky faucets saves 140 gallons of water a week. Throwing used tissues in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet, keeping a pitcher of water in the refrigerator, instead of turning on the faucet each time you’re thirsty and not using running water to thaw food are just a few more ways to conserve water indoors. You can take the car to a commercial washer that uses reclaimed water instead of doing it yourself. Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer and check the mark 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than ¼ inch each day. When backwashing your pool, consider using the water on your landscaping. Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.

Adjust your watering schedule to the season. Install an automatic sprinkler system or set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden with a hose. Plant during the Spring or Fall when the watering requirements are lower and minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter. While fertilizers promote plant growth they also increase water consumption, so apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed. Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water. Using a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk saves 80 gallons of water every time. If you have an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain to a flowerbed, tree or your lawn. It’s just a matter of introducing new habits and you’ll probably barely notice the changes. Do one thing each day that will save water. Even if savings are small, every drop counts.

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