By conserving water you keep water in reservoirs, rivers and aquifers and you help reduce the need for infrastructure such as water treatment plants, pump stations, pipes and drains.
Water conservation tips
Check taps and pipes for leaks
A small drip from a worn tap washer can waste 50 litres of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of litres.
Don’t use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket
Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, water is wasted.
Install water-saving shower heads and take shorter showers
Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, all taps should be fit with aerators
Manage your your cistern
- Make sure all appliances and fittings have an AAA rating.
- Install a dual flush toilet system.
- Place a lead weight, or bottles filled with water, into the toilet cistern or
- Bend the ball-cock to reduce the volume of water in the cistern.
Replacing an 18 litre per flush toilet with an ultra-low volume 6 litre flush model represents a 70% savings in water flushed and will cut indoor water use by about 30%.
Check your toilets for leaks
Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush
There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
Rinse your razor in the sink
Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.
Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Most makers of dishwashing detergent recomend not pre-rinsing dishes which is a big water saving.
For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers. New Energy Star rated washers use 35 – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving frontload washer.
When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing
If your have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a pot of hot water. When using a dishwasher, there is usually no need to pre-rinse the dishes.
Don’t leave the tap running while you clean vegetables
Just rinse them in a plugged sink or a pot of clean water.
Use a dual-setting aerator.
Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants
If you are planting a new lawn, or overseeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses.
Plant slopes with plants that will retain water and help reduce runoff.
Group plants according to their watering needs.
Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2 – 4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the dripline of each plant to form a slight depression which will prevent or minimize water runoff.
Don’t water paved areas!
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
Water your lawn only when it needs it
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (say 5cm) will also promote water retention in the soil.
Deep-soak your lawn
When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn – when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount.
Water during the early parts of the day; avoid watering when it’s windy
Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering, and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defence against slugs and other garden pests. Try not to water when it’s windy – wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation.
Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns
Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be ‘top dressed’ with compost or organic matter.
You can greatly reduce the amount of water used for shrubs, beds and lawns by
- the strategic placement of soaker hoses
- installing a simple drip-irrigation system
- When hand watering, use a variable spray nozzle for targeted watering.
Don’t run the hose while washing your car
Clean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing – this simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car. Use a spray nozzle when rinsing for more efficient use of water. Better yet, use a waterless car washing system; there are several brands, such as EcoTouch, which are now on the market.
Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks
Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings
Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they’re not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free.