It’s been an odd couple of years here in Australia. After the drought broke, we were given what seemed like 20 months of interminable rain. Everything is green, the dams are full, and we can all be grateful for the break. But now, with El Nino heading back our way and water prices unlikely to head anywhere but up, water conservation is as much a financial decision as it is a financial one. Here are 10 ways to reduce your water usage.
First, let’s start with technology. You can fit a water-saving showerhead in your shower and a water saving device in your cistern and save up to 300 litres a week. Options range from the half-flush device, through to the integrated hand-basin and cistern combination. There are also government rebates available for when you install water-saving devices.
Short And Sharp
If weak showers aren’t your thing, then behavioral change might have to be the ticket. We all lived with 3 minute showers during the drought. Since then, the need to be so stringent has relaxed, and so did I. We need to get back into good habits. You can save 400 litres a week by keeping your showers under three minutes, and your baths half-full, which can have a significant effect in the long term on your finances.
An obvious one. If you have a leaking or dripping tap, fix it. You can be looking at 90 litres of water dripping away every week. If the water in your toilet bowl has become coloured (and not the alarming blue of commercial products), check the cistern for leaks.
Use What You Need
Only fill the kettle up for what you require. Kettles are the highest users of energy in your kitchen, although only for short periods of time. Save money on electricity and water by only boiling what you require. The same is true of washing machines. Very high electricity and water usage, so only use them when you have a full load. With El Nino on it’s way, none of us will have any reason to be using a dryer.
Cool the water leftover from boiling the potatoes or pasta, and use it in the garden. Why not chuck a bucket in your shower and do the same with any water that is left over? They’re easy ways to recycle water usage, and save money.
Even if you don’t use it in your house, consider a rainwater tank to water your garden. It needn’t be a big one, just enough to keep the lawn green. Australians have some of the highest water quality in the world. It seems a shame to be using too much of it on our lawns.
Broom And Bucket
Instead of washing down the patio with the house, or cleaning the pavers with solid jets of water, use a broom and a bucket. You’ll save huge amounts of water and money.
Water In The Mornings
We’re heading back to water restrictions I suspect, but if your garden needs attention, water it before the heat of the day really sets in. Afternoon sun is hotter than morning sun, so give it the soak it needs early on.
Mulch protects the garden from getting too hot, and against water evaporation. Getting good coverage is a great investment, and will save you money in the long-run. Likewise, planning your garden around conditions here in Australia is a big saver. Look for plants, like lavender, that don’t like much water and structure your garden around them.
Lose The Car Wash
Our cars don’t need a wash once a week. If you have to wash it, use a bucket of water. A quick hose at the end, if necessary, should do the trick just as well.