Thursday, 21 February 2008

Water Saving Tips

Two babes saving water! The one at the front is my son who's now 30!! The little girl's identity shall remain a mystery (must preserve her dignity)

With only 1% of the earth’s total water supply being available for drinking and other household use, water is one of the most precious commodities we have and yet every day we waste gallons upon gallons of it. We also waste money when we let it run straight down the plughole without first being used for something worthwhile. If you can keep an eye on your water meter, once you start making a conscious effort to save water you'll soon see just how much water you've wasted in the past. Unfortunately I can't easily get to mine, but I know I've saved loads recently so if my water bill isn't adjusted accordingly, I shall be wanting to know why.

The following are a few ways in which we can save water:

  • Turn the tap off while you brush your teeth. Leaving the faucet running can waste as much as 9 litres of water.

  • Only use your washing machine/dishwasher when you have a full load. Washing clothes in a half full machine can waste as much as 90 litres of water. A half full dishwasher will waste around 40 litres.

  • Use the shower instead of the bath. One person can save 400 litres of water each week this way. If you have to wait for the shower to warm up, fill a bucket with the cold water and use it on your garden or for cleaning. If you don’t have a choice, only fill the bath half full.

  • Repair dripping taps. Even a small drip can waste as much as 4 litres of water a day.

  • When you wash your hands, turn the tap off after wetting them. Use the soap, lather up and then turn the tap back on to rinse.

  • When it rains, collect water in a bucket and use it for watering your indoor plants.

  • Only flush the toilet when necessary. Some people prefer to keep the guest toilet flushed but leave the family loo until necessary. As the saying goes: If it’s brown, flush it down; if it’s yellow, let it mellow.

  • Fitting a water saving device in your toilet cistern can save around 3 litres of water per flush.

  • Use a rinsing bowl when washing up rather than putting each item under a running tap.

  • Don’t boil more water in the kettle than you need. If you’re only making one cup of tea, boil just enough water for that one cup.

  • During summer especially, keep water in the fridge so that you don’t need to let water run in order to get to the cold stuff.

  • Water that’s left after boiling vegetables and eggs can be left to cool and used to water plants both indoors and out. Water from eggs is especially useful as it contains lots of beneficial nutrients released from the shell.

  • Use a broom and bucket for washing down the patio rather than a steady flow of water from the hose.

  • Using mulch on the garden will help the soil retain moisture so that you won’t need to water the garden as often. It also helps to let your lawn grow longer as it’ll need less watering that way and will also stay greener than a close cut lawn.

  • Installing a water butt will allow you to collect rain water instead of drinking water on your garden.

  • Water the garden in the evening while it’s cool, never during a sunny day.

  • If you have a fish tank, use the dirty water on your houseplants. It’s full of nitrogen and phosphorus so makes a great fertiliser for green plants (not so good for flowering plants, though)

No doubt there are plenty of other ways of saving water and not all of these ways will suit everybody. As much as we try to be kind to the environment, none of us are perfect and that’s ok. We just need to find the ways in which we can save water that fit our personal circumstances. For example, I can’t keep using veg water and the likes on the garden every time I cook in summer because cooking a meal is enough to leave me exhausted without having to go out watering plants every time, too. I do it occasionally, when I can. I can’t fit a water saving device to my toilet cistern either because I have… errm… ‘special needs’ when it comes to that area and always need to flush twice anyway.

What’s important is that you do what you can and without feeling under pressure to always do more. I’ve been asked so many times, “what’s the point in doing x if you’re not doing z?” and the only answer is: “because every little helps!”

Sharon xx

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little" ~ Edmund Burke, philosopher.

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Debi said...

I do most of these except the gardening ones and we don't have a shower. We do use bath water for the balcony and house plants though.

We've put several plastic bottles filled with water in the toilet cistern, which saves water in flushing.

Sharon J said...

What a brilliant idea! I must remember that one :-)

Anonymous said...

I probably waste far too much water as I like to have a long leisurely soak in the bath after work. I suppose I ought to feel ashamed of myself for not doing more when there are people like you doing what you can to make the world a better place for us all. It's just too easy to not do it I suppose.

Sharon J said...

You're right, it is too easy to not do something but nobody's saying you shouldn't enjoy your bath if that's something that's important to your well-being so there's no need to feel ashamed. Carrying guilt around sure as heck isn't the way to find happiness so don't let me ruin your pleasure. It's the sum of everything we do that matters. I also do things that aren't particularly good for the environment but I try to offset them in other ways.

It would have been nice to have put a name to your comments. If you ever come back, could you use the Name/URL choice - I don't think you need to have a website or blog in order to use it. Of course, it's up to you, though. No pressure :-)