Water is not an abundant resource. Its costs will go up and its availability will shrink. The good news is that much of the water is being lost purely through wasteful habits. You can do a few things around your home that will save a lot of water – and be much kinder to your utility bill as well!
We have summarised some of the best residential water conservation habits into a set of four rules. Follow these and you will be water-flush for the future…
Rule 1: Conserve!
So much water is wasted purely by bad conservation habits:
- Find leaks around the house. Even a dripping tap can use a lot of water. If you are uncertain of how much, just put a plug in the basin and see how much water it collects over a day. Also inspect seals around toilets and anywhere a water hose connects (such as for your washing machine). If you are suspicious about serious underground leaks, consult a professional to inspect.
- Cover your pool. When left to its own devices, your pool is a large surface of water just waiting to be evaporated by the elements. A pool cover stops that and also keeps debris out.
- Shower instead of taking a bath. Studies have time and again shown that showering uses less water than bathing. Just keep them short! (Avoid Hollywood showers.)
- Hose as a last resort. Many people use the spray from a hose to clean their driveways, but this consumes huge amounts of water. While an occasional wash of your driveway is fine, a good sweep will do a fine job most of the time.
- Never let it run. Whether you are brushing your teeth or washing the car, do not let the tap keep running. If you ever wonder why, put a plug in the basin or let the hose empty into a bucket. You will be shocked by how much water flows in that short period.
Rule 2: Recycle where you can!
Water is incredibly easy to recycle:
- Keep a grey water bucket in shower. The bucket will capture a lot of excess water, which you can use to water your plants and lawn.
- Install a greywater system. Greywater is any water that isn’t contaminated by feces or heavy chemicals. Such a system can recycle water for your garden, cisterns and other water services. Calcamite offers a wide range of residential grey water systems that are both unintrusive and highly effective.
- Recycle bottled water into plants. How often do you have half-finished glasses and bottles of water around your home? Pour these out on your plants – they will be very happy for it.
- Use bio-friendly detergents and recycle the water. Many detergents will damage plants or cause problems for other uses. If you invest in biodegradable detergents, you have more options of what to do with the water you recycle.
- Capture rainwater for the garden. Rain is very abundant during the right seasons and a good rainfall can quickly fill a large container. You can use your roof as a capture area and install large rainwater containers for storage. But even a small plastic container, as long as it isn’t translucent, will keep water for a number of months. Use this water for your garden or washing your vehicles. Once filtered, it is also drinkable. Such tanks can also be stylish and compliment the look of your home. Consult Calcamite’s range of rainwater tanks for a sense of what is available.
Rule 3: Think smart!
Water conservation can be as simple as a few good habits:
- Water at appropriate times. It makes no sense watering your garden in the middle of the day, when much of the moisture will evaporate. Water early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and when there is less wind.
- Use bottles for water instead of glasses. Bottles can keep water crisp for longer. Buy a few glass or plastic bottles, fill them with water, then keep them in the fridge. This is far better and more convenient than the waste caused by using glasses or cups for water. You can later use the old water for your plants, as suggested earlier in this article.
- Fully load the dishwasher. Don’t wash small loads of dishes – in modern appliances it just wastes water. The same for washing your clothes: rather wash a complete laundry load. But do not exceed the manufacturer’s limitations or that will cause problems and likely require washing everything again.
- Avoid pre-rinsing. Pre-rinsing dishes for dishwashing machines is an outdated practice. Modern machines can efficiently rinse the dishes automatically. Doing so yourself just wastes water.
- Use a rinse basin. If you hand wash dishes, do not rinse items under the tap. Rinse them in a second basin or in a bucket. This is much more efficient, with even better results.
Rule 4: Tweak your items!
Take a closer look at the water-using machines and systems around you:
- Buy energy-efficient appliances. The massive improvements made to modern appliances cannot be understated. They are far more efficient and use less water than their predecessors. If your old faithful is getting a bit long in the tooth, consider replacing it.
- Have a geyser supply the kitchen. All too often the geyser or hot water boiler is at the far side of the building, near the bathrooms and away from the kitchen. This means a lot of hot water is wasted while travelling to the kitchen basin, since the pipes cool the liquid. A smaller geyser close to the kitchen is a long-term investment you’ll treasure.
- Install aerators. Aerators are simple attachments that go on the end of your taps. These use meshes to mix the water with air. You get the same water pressure, but actually use less water as a result.
- Insulate pipes. As mentioned above, pipes can release a lot of heat. This means you wait for hot water to arrive at the tap, so consequently you run the water for longer. Insulating pipes is cheap and easy enough to do, even if you don’t have any DIY bones in your body.
- Install low-flow shower heads. Showers are fantastic and fast, but they can still gobble a lot of water. A low-flow showerhead will keep the same pressure while using less water.