Is your water bill too high? Are the dry seasons pinching your wallet? Do you want to be greener and smarter with water? These five tips will help you out.
1. Find leaks
A single dripping tap can waste 20,000 litres of water a year. This is very avoidable: worn washers in taps are the most common reason why they leak. When washers wear, they not only leak, but we start tightening the taps more to avoid the leak. All that does is wear the washer faster, as well as start breaking the internal mechanisms of the tap. Soon enough you’d have to replace the entire tap, costing you a lot more. Washers can be replaced easily and are very inexpensive. In fact, it is worth your while to replace all the house washers once a year.
2. Use water smartly
If you let the water run while you brush your teeth or shave, you are wasting an amazing amount of water for no good reason. Think about it: the responsible amount of time to brush teeth is 2 minutes. Now, imagine opening a tap in your lounge and letting it run for two minutes. That will be one huge mess. So when you don’t close the tap, you are pouring a lot of money down the drain. Start saving water by simply teaching your family to not leave the tap open.
3. Capture grey water
We often use water, then throw it away. But water is very recyclable, particularly if it is not contaminated with organic matter such as food or human waste. That water can be used for other tasks. For example, place a bucket in the shower and water your plants with what you capture. If you use a bio-friendly detergent, your washing machine’s runoff can be directed to your lawn. You can also invest in a grey water capture system that will collect the used water, filter it and sent the water to cisterns and irrigation.
4. Invest in modern fixtures and appliances
Age will wear anything down, including your fixtures and appliances. A fixture such as a tap that has worn over time will become worse at keeping its seal. Old shower heads also use more water than normal, especially when compared to modern alternatives. Replacing a shower head is inexpensive, easy and will make a nice dent in your water bill. Appliances can also help save water. Modern washing machines and dishwashers are far more efficient in their water use, whereas older machines can be real aqua hogs. A good machine will last you years and years, so stop keeping that old one alive just to save a few cents. It’s really costing you a lot more.
5. Choose the right plants
We love greenery around us, but are those plants good for your water bill? A typical South African plant should get by with only a weekly watering. Anything that performs unusually badly if it does not get water frequently is bound to be a foreign plant and water hog. If you are keen on saving water as well as your garden, keep a particular eye on trees, which are huge water consumers. You may be over-watering your garden just to compensate for a single large tree slurping it all up. Consider potting plants: this makes it easier to manage their water usage. When you do water your garden, aim for very early or late hours, else the sun will evaporate much of it.
6. Cover that pool
Taking a splash in your pool on a hot day is incredibly gratifying. But what about the rest of the time? The pool sits there, a vast area of open water that the sun bakes. This evaporates a huge amount of water – not only hitting your water statement, but also costing you in pool chemicals. Every time you replace the evaporated water, you have to add more chemicals. A pool cover is an excellent way to avoid this, plus it makes sure the pool is safe from children and animals falling in.