Water is a common substance that is essential to all known forms of life. It covers 70% of the earth’s surface and mostly found in oceans and large bodies of water. 1.6 % of the Earth’s water is found underground in aquifers. A tiny % of the world’s water is found in the bodies of plants and animals and in manufactured goods. Humans and other animals need access to a supply of fresh and clean drinking water for their survival. Some observers have interpolated that by 2025 a large part of the world’s population will be facing shortages of water.
Why should we conserve water?
Water conservation should not be considered an option any longer. Current circumstances require our full attention if we hope to thrive as a civilization. If these statements sound dramatic, it is because much of the world is currently suffering due to a lack of clean water.
Statistics around the reveal that our fresh water supply is practically nonexistent. That is why it is so important to seek out, find and start using all the innovative water conservation solutions and methods that are available today.
Benefits of conserving water
- Save water saves your money
- Reduces the need for costly water supply and new wastewater treatment facilities
- Saves energy used to pump, heat, and treat water
- Water conservation helps in improving the quality of your drinking water.
- Minimizes water pollution and health risks
Many ways to save water…. and they all start with you!
In the bathroom
- Don’t run water when brushing your teeth, washing your hands or face.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save almost 100 litres a month.
- When you are washing your hands, don’t let the water run while you lather.
- Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save more than 500 litres a month.
- Turn off the water while you shave and save more than 1000 litres a month.
- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 500 litres per month.
- Close taps tightly
- When filling a tub, plug it before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
- Replace damaged/leakage pipes, taps, valves to avoid overflow and wastage.
- A leaking toilet can waste up to 16,000 litres of water per year
- Never flush garbage down a toilet. It will ultimately end up in our water streams and river.
- Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.
- Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.
- Use a water-efficient showerhead. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you more than 2500 litres a month.
In the kitchen
- Don’t run water when washing the dishes
- Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill the sink basin or a large container and rinse when all the dishes have been soaped and scrubbed.
- Wash vegetables in a bowl of water, washing the cleanest ones first. Use this water for your plants.
- Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
- Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
- Setting cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills saves both water and chemicals, plus more on utility bills.
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
When using your washing machine
- While buying a new washing machine, choose one that is water efficient. You could save a substantial amount of water, as well as money, over the life of the machine.
- Most washing machines have a load adjustment button or dial, so try to set this to match the amount of washing you’re doing. If your machine doesn’t have a load adjustment function, try to wait until you have enough washing for a full load.
- Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save more than 3,000 litres a month
- When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They’re more water and energy efficient.
- Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colours.
In your garden
- Water lawns and gardens during the coolest part of the day.
- Collect rainwater in large tubs or cans and use it to water plants.
- Avoid using pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in the garden for they seep into the garden and pollute ground water.
- Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
- Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
- Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
- Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while under watering others.
- Use a layer of organic material on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
- Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those spraying water into the air.
- Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
- Consult with your local nursery for information on plant selection and placement for optimum outdoor water savings.
- For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
- Set a timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop. A running hose can discharge more than 300 litres a minute
When washing your car
- Wash vehicles with a bucket and sponge instead of hose, which uses 400 litres of water. By using a bucket up to 300 litres can be saved.
- Fix leaking taps, pipes etc., immediately and check regularly for leaks.
- Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it for watering a plant or garden or cleaning.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
- Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
- Walkways and patios provide space that doesn’t ever need to be watered. These useful “rooms” can also add value to your property.
- Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
- Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
- When you save water, you save money on your utility bills too. Saving water is easy for everyone to do.
- Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbours.
- Wash your pets outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.
- When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
- While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels.
- When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.