Even here on the Wet Coast, we are having to think more and more about water conservation in the summer months. Now is the time to include some simple changes into our family’s daily routines that will really add up in savings on how much fresh clean water we are wasting every day. Clean drinking water is no longer something that we can afford to take for granted at any time of the year.
CHOOSE A SHOWER OVER A BATH
Start by choosing a shower over a bath. Then shorten your shower time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes. Yes you may have to set a timer for the kids. The bonus is that not only will you be saving water, you may get out of the house or in to bed on time! Even more water can be saved by turning off the water while lathering in the shower. Every drop counts!
If a shower is not an option,cut the amount of water used in the bath by 5 centimetres. Considering the average bath holds 302 litres of water this change could save 40-50 litres of water per bath!
THINK BEFORE YOU FLUSH
If you ever went to camp you probably read . “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” on the bathroom wall. This old saying still holds true especially for middle of the night pees. Just flush once in the morning. On average, We each flush 5 times a day. This adds up to 1,000 litres of water per year of clean drinking water being flushed down the drain for a family of 4. Remember to never flush hair, q-tips, medications, food or feminine products, or tissues down the toilet.
DON’T LET THE WATER RUN
Do not let the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving. Ever. This is the most basic and effective form of water conservation.Always turn off the faucet when you are not directly using the water flow. Have your kids police you and each other, they are good at it!
WATCH HOW YOU WASH DISHES
Dishwashers use less water than the typical hand washing practices– about 5,000 gallons less per year. Be sure to scrape dishes your dishes into the compost bin instead of rinsing them under running water before loading your dishwasher. When it comes to bbq grill or heavily soiled dishes & pans, consider soaking overnight to loosen the mess. Be sure to always compost organic matter instead of using a sink garbage disposal system. These systems use hundreds of litres of water each week increase the load on water treatment facilities.
When washing dishes by hand,remember to not use running water, use a tub or plug the sink instead.
CHANGE UP YOU KITCHEN ROUTINE
Keep a bottle or jug of drinking water in the refrigerator rather than running the tap for cold water.
Plan ahead so that frozen food doesn’t need to be thawed under running water or fill a bowl with cold water to thaw the food.
Use a small amount of water and a lid on a pot when cooking. This method uses less water. Save the water from cooking vegetables for soups gravies, sauces or outdoor plants.
LOAD UP THE WASHER
Washing machines use anywhere between 100 – 200 litres of water per load. Operate washing machines at full capacity and/or if your machine has a “suds-saver” feature, be sure to use it as this feature reuses the clean rinse water for washing the next load.
Rainwater collection is now mandatory in some parts of the world like Australia and California. This practise of collecting rainwater to use for outdoor watering can be as easy as using rain barrels to collect roof runoff. More complex and efficient systems are also available.
PLANT DROUGHT FRIENDLY PLANTS
Certain garden plants do better than others with less need for water. Here are 3 beautiful suggestions:
Most varieties are tolerant of heat and drought and, once established, can go for periods without regular watering.
This Mediterranean plant is also known for its fragrance, which is said to promote sleep. Lavender has evolved to thrive on little water. Like other Mediterranean plants, a lavender shrub should be watered enough during its first year to keep its roots moist. Once it is established, you can gradually cut back on watering so that the top few inches of soil are dry before watering again.
This gorgeous shrub is the first real spring bloom in our minds. They are fragrant and colourful as well as evergreen, drought tolerant, the flowers are even edible. Wild Lilac can survive with very little water and can live for 10 to 25 years.
Check out these other ways you can be more green at home!