Why do we need to learn how to how to save water at home - what is the problem?
Many of us are growing increasingly aware of the amount of water we use, and are looking for ways to reduce that.
The two main reasons why we want to reduce our water usage are to save money and to be more environmentally friendly.
Many countries are experiencing a lack of rain more often and for longer periods of drought, causing water restrictions to try and preserve our water supplies for longer.
Weather changes like the El Ninio have permanently altered our expectations of rainfall to meet our ever-growing demands from an ever growing population around the world.
Some countries like Australia have begun to invest in sea water de-salination projects in an attempt to reclaim seawater for domestic and commercial uses.
We are all trying to find ways to simply cut back our demands on our water supplies by taking steps to reduce water use and eliminate water wastage that we used to just take for granted.
It became quite desperate at one point when the city of Bendigo was facing the prospect of totally running out of water supplies within 6-9 months!
They managed to get some pipelines laid so they could tap into another external source of water just in time, but it was a shock to realize that many thousands of people in that region would have been in truly dire straits if the water supplies had run out.
Like many people here, I have one huge rain water tank collecting water from the roof as well as some smaller tanks with pumps collecting rain water from extra guttering spouts.
I intend to instal more tanks when I have a bit more money put away for it, since they cost around $1,000 each it is a bit of a stretch to get enough tanks to seriously replace your household demand from local town water supply.
My garden benefits from getting healthy rain water instead of chemically treated ‘town water’ supply, and it saves me money while also feeling good about ‘going green’ in my garden watering.
And during the decade long drought we are still recovering from, there was absolutely no water allowed to be used for watering the garden, or washing your car, or around the house for things like hosing down the walls or windows.
So for water in the garden to at least try and save the bigger trees, we started to use buckets of water from the shower, bath, laundry and even some of the relatively clean water from the kitchen use – also known as ‘grey water’
And the amount of water saved when you use ‘grey water’ from the shower and laundry is truly remarkable!
My household and garden demand for water costs around $2,000 per year, so learning how to save water at home means not only the satisfaction of 'going green' but also takes some pressure off my bank account!
We all must take responsibility for reducing our water usage in the home and in the garden, as well as being more creative about ways to catch and store water from rainfall.
Lets look at some Effective Ways To Reduce Your Water Use:
One of the simplest and most obvious, yet frequently overlooked, ways to save on water usage is to make sure you turn off the faucet when it’s not necessary to keep it on.
For example, when you’re brushing your teeth, turn the faucet off except when you need to wet your toothbrush, and when you need to rinse the sink afterwards.
Leaving the water running the whole time you are brushing your teeth is a total waste.
The same principle can be applied to almost every reason for using water, such as washing your hands, doing the dishes or taking a shower.
Another really simple way to save on water usage is to take shorter showers.
This is really easy to do and can add up to huge water savings very quickly even when only taking a couple of minutes off your typical shower time.
If you find it difficult to track the time you spend in the shower, then buy a waterproof timer and take it in with you.
Personally, this is one of my least favorite ways to save water at home as I like to enjoy long hot showers, and the occasional spa bath.
But at least when I do indulge myself, I know that as the water is diverted out to the garden by hoses from the external drains, it will go to help the trees and save water that way.
You should also buy a water saving shower head.
These gadgets give you the same sensation of the pressure of a full blast of water without actually using as much water as normal shower heads.
An old way to save water was to simply put a house brick or two into the water cistern, as that simply misplaced the water volume and saved one or two liters of water with every flush of the toilet.
Another major source of water usage is through the toilet.
Every time we flush, we use gallons of water.
To reduce this, either invest in a more efficient toilet (many options are available these days) or buy a toilet water saving device which goes in the cistern and reduces the amount of water needed to fill it up.
All new toilets installed in homes now have duel-tanks for the water so that you only use half a water tank for light disposal, and save the full tank flush for only disposing of solid wastes.
You can also look at installing a rainwater tank that serves to flush the toilet.
When it comes time to wash your dishes, don’t be tempted to leave the water running the whole time.
Simply fill up the basin and use the water in it to wash everything.
Rinsing with the bare minimum of water by turning the faucet on for only the amount of time it takes to wash soap of the dishes will also keep your water usage right down.
You can also keep a bowl or jug in the sink that you fill with water and dishwashing detergent.
Then when you need to rinse a relatively clean item you can dip and scrub it before going into the dishwasher or setting aside for washing dishes later.
The key is to not turn the tap on and let it keep running while you rinse, scrub, rinse, scrub.
Try to get used to using a stationary tub of water where possible.
Many of us like to use a dishwasher.
I love, love, love my dishwasher.
It stores dirty dishes out of sight until its full to wash, and then does the washing, rinsing and drying for me. Woo Hoo!
While these aren’t the most environmentally friendly machines, it’s not that hard to make them more efficient, and they can be more efficient than washing dishes by hand.
In fact, most modern 'energy efficient' dishwashers have a high star rating and use less water than you would if you washed the same dishes in your kitchen basin!
Simply resist the urge to use a dishwasher unless it’s full of dishes.
Don’t wash breakfast dishes after breakfast, lunch dishes after lunch and dinner dishes after dinner with your dishwasher.
Wait until the end of the day and wash all of the dishes in one go.
If you have a garden that needs watering, or you like to wash your car regularly, then why not simply collect rainwater and use it for these kinds of tasks?
Having one or two big barrels to capture water from the gutters around your house can easily provide enough water for washing your car and a good amount to put towards watering the garden too.
I use huge bins on wheels that I place under a couple of downpipes, that have electric pumps dropped in them.
That way it is so simple to flick a switch and you have high pressure water for your garden and external house cleaning.
And since they are on wheels they are mobile to move around (empty) to whatever place you want to collect and use the water from most.
I also have a dozen or so plastic rubbish bins like used to be used for household waste collection before 'wheelie bins' were used.
They have a lid to keep rubbish and mosquitos our of the water, and are big enough to dip your bucket or watering can into to fill with water and use on your plants or washing the car.
I always have a good storage of water that I save for emergencies like when water is cut off because of repairs to the supply.
For some reason every few months a mains pipe will burst in my street (often in the middle of the night) and so we wake up to find no water supply available in the home.
So years ago I started to store bottles of water in the kitchen and bathroom cupboards for just these emergency cases.
My Aloe juice bottles come in Gallon size containers and have a comfortable handle, so they are a favorite way to store water for ‘just in case’ situations.
I also like to save big glass bottles as they are super durable and don’t break down over the years, so you can store the water for many years without having to check your water supply is not being conaminated by plastic breaking down.
Nowadays I use these bottles of water around the garden to create garden bed borders that keep the mulch in place from birds spreading it on the pathway, and they also help to keep the ground cool and shaded for my border plants.
Then in an emergency I just go out to the garden and collect a dozen gallon bottles to use in the toilet, kitchen and bathroom. I never run out of water!
I also keep some big plastic rubbish bins with lids that I store extra rain water in. They are placed near the gutter downpipes and as the buckets fill up I just pour them into the bigger bins to be used for later on.
This is also a good strategy for when we have bush fire risk, as if there were big bushfires in the town the water supply would drop in pressure and may even cut out, so having your own big bins of water scattered around your property is a good back up for fighting fires.
In this section I'll find some good products to feature for you here.
I like to find good water storage containers, water conservation gadgets, and the tools you need to re-purpose your grey water supplies.
So keep your eye out below for some of my best finds - and when you buy from the links below you often save big on retail store prices, and may even get free shipping of the products to your door!
And if you have some great tips for how to save water at home, please share them with us in the submission box below, as I'll be happy to feature your tips too!
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