Water saving is a hot topic in the summer months as many parts of the country experience drought and water shortages. Even if you are not affected by drought, getting into the habit of using less water in everyday life can pay off both financially and environmentally.
It’s easy to use water unthinkingly and waste it without noticing. Small savings here and there might not seem much at first, but will soon add up significantly. If you are already convinced that water saving is worth the effort but are not sure about where or how to make the first cuts, here are some top tips to help you get started.
Plug the Leaks
Trying to minimize your water use is not going to be efficient if you are losing some of it before you get the chance to use it. Start by fixing any known leaks: that dripping tap or showerhead you’ve been ignoring is costing you money every day. You can find out if you have any other leaks by keeping a close eye on your water meter for a couple of days. If you appear to be using water when you are sure you are not then you might have a leak.
Stop Flushing it Away
An immense amount of clean, drinkable water is used every day to flush toilets all over the country. You can reduce your own flush use by adding a water filled bottle to the toilet tank, causing it to fill less. Alternatively, simply flush less often. This will be very much a matter of personal comfort levels but, as the old quote says, ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”
Baths and showers use a great deal of water, and daily washing is so much a part of our culture that most people would be reluctant to stop taking them as often. But cuts can be made. Showers usually use less water than baths and a shower timer (or an egg timer) in the bathroom can make a huge difference to those who like long showers. Other tips include not running the tap while washing in the sink or brushing teeth.
Use It Twice
Much of the water we drain away in the house could be used for another purpose first. Big gardens need frequent watering and old bath or dishwater are ideal for watering plants. Similarly, some water savers re-use bath water for flushing the toilet. If this sounds too fiddly then collect rainwater and use it for the garden and other outdoor jobs like washing cars and windows.
Like all changes, the secret is to do what you feel comfortable with and build slowly, letting the little changes add up over time. From fixing that dripping tap and taking a shorter shower to plumbing the bath drain into a garden watering system to building a compost toilet, all water savers will have their limits. The most important tips is just to start thinking about your water waste every time you turn on a tap. You’ll find that you notice more and reduce water use without even noticing it.