16 Ways To Reduce Your Water Usage
Saving water has become a global concern, experts saying that fresh water usage is one of the biggest concerns in environmental conservation. With many countries struggling for clean drinking water, the demand to use less water is even more pressing. As demand for water rises, the average water bill for UK families is rising. If you want to lower your water bill at the same time as being more environmentally friendly, you can work to use less water in your home.
- Store water. If you can store water for future use in a 5000 litre water tank, then you will have water on hand, that can be maintained at a set temperature. A properly insulated tank can save you energy, and therefore money, to reheat the water every time, meaning you can use less running the tap while waiting for the water to warm up.
- Turn off faucets. Leaving taps running is one of the main causes of water waste in domestic homes. To cut back on your water waste, don’t leave the rap running more than is needed, for tasks like washing up, brushing your teeth, or washing your hands. Teach the children to turn the tap off while they’re brushing their teeth too and make sure they understand why it is so important not to leave the tap running. A faucet that is leaking, even a little, can also waste a huge amount of water and drive up your water bill. Don’t wait to get a dripping tap repaired. As soon as you notice a leak, call a plumber to fix it so you stop the water wastage.
- Use all the water. If you have to run the tap for a while to get the hot water to come in, catch this water in a jug or bowl. Use the same for water that you’ve used to rinse vegetables or cook in. This is known as potable water. Instead of pouring it down the sink, repurpose it somewhere else. Water like this is perfectly fine for watering the pot plants or the plants in the garden.
- Change the way you wash your dishes. If you have a dual sink, fill one side with hot water with soap in for washing dishes, and the other side with cool water which you can use for rinsing. You’ll use half the water you would normally and spend less time heating it up. If you only have one sink, you can use two washing up bowls in the same way.
- Use a small dishwasher. A modern dishwasher can be very efficient in saving you a lot of water. You can use some tricks to save even more though. Scrape your dishes instead of rinsing them for a start. Only turn the dishwasher on for full loads. If you don’t have many dishes to wash, buy a smaller dishwasher so you can actually fill it to turn it on, such a double-drawer model. The drawers work independently, meaning you can use just one for small loads and save water, detergent and energy.
- Buy a high-efficiency washing machine. The average family does a lot of laundry in a year, and all that washing accounts for a large amount of your water use. Front-loading machines tend to use less water than the top-loading machines. If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, look for one with an energy efficient rating. These machines use a lot less water, as the tub doesn’t fill all the way. As with your dishwasher, only use the machine when you have a full load to minimise how often you have to turn it on.
- Go with low-flow. Bathrooms are obviously the place where most water is used in the average home, but there are some savings to be made. If you have an old toilet, you can replace it with a more modern, more efficient model, which uses a lot less water every time you flush. Showering also wastes a lot of water, but to save water, you can fit a low-flow showerhead that will restrict the water flow, saving a lot of water. Similar low-flow systems are available for faucets too, to save water coming from your taps.
- Take shorter showers. Long showers waste a lot of water, and cost you money for heating the water. Aim to take shorter showers and encourage the rest of the family to do the same. Five minutes is plenty for most people. If you’re struggling, take in a kitchen timer or set an alarm to tell you when it’s time to get out of the shower. Showers are more efficient than baths, so stick to showers. Just keep them short.
- Cover your pool. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor pool at home, make sure you have a proper pool cover. A pool cover has several advantages. It stops leaves and other debris from getting into the pool, reduces the amount of water that evaporates from the pool and helps to maintain the water temperature, saving you money in heating it ready for a swim.
- Water by hand. An irrigation system to water your garden seems very convenient, but it’s not always the most efficient way. Watering by hand, especially if you use potable water or collected rainwater from a waterbutt, is a lot more efficient and wastes a lot less water. Your plants will still get enough water to flourish, but you can use a lot less water to do it.
- Use smarter irrigation. If your garden is too large to be watered by hand or you are unable to water it yourself, there are more efficient irrigation systems which can help. You could invest in weather-based irrigation controllers. These will adjust to the weather conditions, meaning they will only supply water when it is needed, saving you from wasting water by a system that runs even when it’s raining. Swap old mist-style sprinkler heads for new, more efficient, rotator sprinkler heads. These shoot out jets of water at a slow rate, which increases penetration into the soil. Drip irrigation piping and soaker hoses are also good ways to improve the efficiency of watering.
- Capture rainwater. Use a waterbutt or large water drum to catch rainwater. This water is ideal for using to water the garden, and can save an enormous amount of water. You should also catch water from your guttering for the same reason. Just remember to cover the barrels to stop animals from falling in.
- Boil less water. Most of us overfill our kettles when we fill them up to boil them. Most kettles are marked with measurements on the side, so use these as a guide to make sure you’re aren’t filling it up more than you need. Only ever boil the water that you need, to save wasting water in the kettle. By doing this you can save water, energy and money.
- Eat seasonally. A lot of water is needed to rear animals for meat and dairy products, and to harvest crops on a large scale. If you cut back on the amount of meat and dairy that you eat, you aren’t contributing to this massive use of water. Eating less is also good for your health and good for the environment. The meat and dairy industries are huge contributors to global warming, so using less will help. Eat vegetables that are in season too. They need less water to be force grown than out of season fruits and vegetables, and you’re also reducing your carbon footprint by eating food that doesn’t need to be shipped in from long distances. On the same logic, try to minimize your food waste. A lot of water is used to produce food, so you shouldn’t waste it by throwing out perfectly good food.
- Steam your vegetables. Steaming instead of boiling uses a lot less water, and can also preserve more of the flavour and nutrients in your food. If you do choose to boil your vegetables, save the water afterwards to be used as a stock for soup or to water your plants.
- Time your gardening right. The best time to water your plants is in the early morning or late evening. This means the water you’ve used won’t immediately evaporate in the sunlight or the heat, meaning you need less water to properly soak the plants. Water the soil, and not the top of the plant, so the water will go straight down to the roots, where the plant actually needs it.
Saving water is a very important thing that we all should be doing more to do. Reducing the water you use can help you to lead a more environmentally friendly life, as well as saving you a lot of money on your water bills. Try to get the whole family involved in ways that you can all save water. Talk to your children about what you’re doing and why. Getting them involved can help them to begin to learn about living in a more green way.