Little changes make a huge difference for the environment.
It’s common practice for most people to welcome the New Year with a fresh set of resolution. The New Year’s resolution typically helps guide one to better health and living. It’s customary to include self-improvement bits, such as committing to an exercise regimen and a healthier diet to lose weight. Others take on challenges, like finishing a book every month or developing a brand new hobby this year, which is also a great way to battle the boredom brought about by the pandemic.
This year, why not take your new year’s resolution list a notch higher by including environment-saving habits? You could plant a tree this year or reduce the amount of waste your household makes. One of the best — and completely doable — goals you could accomplish is water conservation. And it starts right there at home, today.
This Year, I Pledge to Conserve Water…
Climate change and continuous industrialisation are drying up Australia’s river systems, resulting in drought and water scarcity. Rainfall comes at only around 470mm per year, which is considered below the normal range. And yet, Australians are reported to waste around 90% of water resource.
With the decreased rainfall and drying up of rivers and lakes, the water supply is rapidly depleting! For a country whose citizens are among the greatest water consumers, at 100,000L per person every year, this is alarming. Becoming proactive with conserving the available water the country still has may help bring the water balance back. It may take some time and the commitment of many, but it has to start somewhere. And it can start with you!
I Will Use Less Water When…
- Using the Tap or Shower
Don’t keep the water going as you lather up, brush, or shave; turn the water off. Letting the water run unnecessarily results in hundreds of litres down the drain every month, which can also add to your monthly water bill.
- Rinsing Produce
Instead of rinsing fruits and vegetables under running water, do it in a stoppered sink. Or go the extra mile and consider using a basin or container of water. You can collect used water this way and save it to water the plants later.
- Watering the Plants
Limit watering the plants when it’s winter or when the weather is cool or rainy. Water when the soil feels dry and try to do it during the coolest time of the day to minimise water evaporation. Use greywater instead of fresh water from the faucet. It is easy to overestimate the amount of water that a plant needs; consider the plant and pot size and watch out for water run-offs. These should help you gauge how much water is enough and when it is too much.
Consider taking shorter showers than usual by setting your target shower time with a shower timer. This can also measure the amount of water you use when showering, which should give you an idea of whether you are using more water than necessary. It also helps you adjust your shower routine and align it with your water conservation goal.
- Washing the Car
If you are used to using the hose, it’s time to ditch this water-wasting habit. A running hose can consume up to 200 litres of water just for this task. Use a bucket of water to wash the car, and it will cut down the water used to about 50%.
When you cook, note how much water you use and evaluate if the amount is really necessary. For example, do you need to cook your pasta in 4 litres of water, or would 3 litres do the same job? Wouldn’t the extra 2 cups of water make the broth thinner and bland? Perhaps, using less water will create a better sauce texture and retain the flavour of your food.
To Save Water, I Will Consider…
- Getting the faucets fitted with aerators.
This relatively inexpensive tool will help reduce the water flow by separating the single stream of water into a shower. It introduces air into the water flow that scatters it, and can cover more surface area and minimising water use (and lowers your water bill as well!).
- Replacing regular showerhead with a low-flow one.
Switching to a low-flow showerhead reduces the amount of water you spend while having a shower, making it a water-efficient choice. Low-flow showerheads save up to 20 litres of water per minute compared to regular showerheads.
- Installing a dual flush model toilet.
Dual flush toilets are more water-efficient than the conventional, single flush models. It uses 70% less water, which means you use a lot less water for flushing than with a regular single flush one. With a dual flush toilet, you have the choice of a half flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste.
- Installing a rainwater collection system at home.
This is a beneficial addition to your home and a green way of conserving and maximising the use of available, free water. You may even qualify for rebates from Australian, territory, state, and local governments.
- Collecting the cold water while waiting for hot water.
Cold water is typically just left to flow and drain away while waiting for the hot water to come out. Avoid this wastage and collect the clean water in a jug, and use it to wash fruits and vegetables.
- Shower over bath.
A relaxing soak is not bad once in a while, but if you can help it, choose to have a shower instead of a bath. A tub needs around 70 gallons of water to fill. Showering consumes less water versus bathing in a full tub and finishing it off with a short shower.
- Gardening with drought-resistant plants.
Many gorgeous drought-resistant plants in the country do not require frequent watering or tending. Succulents are trendy, and these lovely, low-maintenance plants don’t need constant watering.
- Insulate the hot water pipes.
By insulating the hot water pipes, water heat is retained. This minimises the need to let the cold water flow until hot water comes out. With insulated pipes, you get hot water faster on demand.
- Storing a jug of drinking water in the fridge.
Letting the tap water run until cool water comes out is among the most common water-wasting habits at home. Many people don’t even give this much thought as this practice has become automatic every time they need a drink. Make a complete change by storing the drinking water in a jug and keeping it in the fridge to cool.
I Will Try These No Water Alternatives
- Clean the patio, walkways, and pavement by sweeping the leaves and dirt instead of hosing it down. You don’t necessarily have to wash down these areas with water every time. More often than not, it only takes a good sweeping with a broom to rid it of dirt.
- Defrost the food without the use of water. Let the frozen food defrost in the least cold part of the fridge or simply thaw it out in the sink (don’t leave it for more than two hours), instead of unfreezing it in the water. Some foods also defrost well in the microwave.
- Use a compost pile instead of relying on in-sink garburators. This in-sink garbage disposal fixture uses a lot of water, whilst the rubbish may eventually clog the septic tank and sewers. The greener alternative to disposing of solid food waste is by starting a compost pile.
- Throw rubbish in the bin instead of flushing it down the toilet. Each time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue, wipes, and other personal hygiene materials, about 7 gallons of water is wasted. This habit can also clog your toilet. Quit using the toilet as a trash bin and chuck your rubbish in the waste can.
- Try using dry shampoo once in a while. Cut 3 to 5 minutes off your shower time, save up to six gallons of water, and style your hair easily with dry shampoo! Your hair can also benefit a lot from using dry shampoo versus regular shampoo, which often contains parabens, sulphates, and other chemicals. Save the usual lathering up for another time when your hair needs a deep cleaning.
Water Conservation Q&A
Q. Is it true that we save more water with dishwasher than washing by hand?
A. Yes. Unless you are just washing a cup and a plate after having your coffee and sandwich, washing a load of dishes by hand actually uses more water versus using the dishwasher. By leaving the job to the dishwasher, you are using 3 times less water. When choosing a dishwasher, go for one with a WELS rating of 4.5 stars or higher.
Q. How do I save water in the laundry?
A. The easiest way to save water in the laundry is to wash only a full load of clothes. If there are only a few items to wash, skip it and wait until you have enough to run a full load. Skip the extra rinse if it’s not necessary. If you haven’t yet, you might also want to switch to a high-efficiency washing machine with a WELS rating of at least 5 stars. It will help save as much as 35% on water bills.
Q. I could not shift to dual flush system toilet yet, but I would like to start saving more water with the flush ASAP. What can I do?
A. You can use greywater to flush the toilet. Alternatively, you can use a DIY tank float booster, which can cut back on water consumption 10 gallons or more per day. To make a tank float booster, simply fill two 1-litre plastic bottles with sand or small pieces of stones. Put the cap back on and place the bottles inside the tank, making sure that the bottles won’t get in the way of the tank’s working mechanisms.
Q. Wouldn’t greywater harm my plants?
A. Greywater contains nutrients and other organic materials that are beneficial to plants. Unlike black water, grey water is relatively cleaner with minimal or no harmful contaminants and is still suitable for reuse.
Q. My home is not set up with water irrigation or piping system for greywater collection. How can I make manual greywater collection easier?
A. You can strategically place a small water bucket or pail by the sink in the kitchen, shower, and laundry where you can easily collect water from:
- rinsing fruits and vegetables
- hand-washed delicate garments
- hand washing
- rinsing off in the shower
Q. Aside from conserving water and reducing the water bill, how else will it benefit those who practice water conservation?
A. Conserving water by making significant changes with the way people use water has a positive economic influence in the long run. Producing certain commodities become easier when there is enough water needed to process these. The commodities become available and are easily accessible for everyone, thereby resulting in lower pricing.
Q. What is the most compelling motivation for conserving water?
A. With everything that is happening to the world, we can at least give our planet a fighting chance to heal by conserving water. It reduces our carbon footprint, allows our flora and fauna to thrive, and creates a better world for the future generation to live in.
Make Green Planet Plumbing Your Water Conservation Partner
Making a few adjustments with your habits when it comes to water use is a great place to start your New Year water conservation resolution. You can make your water conservation efforts more effective by checking areas of your home that are prone to water leak problems. Water leaks at home may be easy to spot, but some are hidden behind the walls or under the floor.
We can help with your water-saving efforts by checking your home plumbing system for issues that causes water wastage and high water bill. Our licensed and professional plumbers can test for and fix drips, leaks, backflows, and make your home as water-efficient as you strive to become! If you are anywhere in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast and Hunter Valley regions and needs our help, contact us today.