Saving water

by Mike Isle

Water is a precious resource. There is not as much of it as we think, and there are plenty of good reasons to save as much of it as we can, particularly at this time of the year. Here are a few ways we can do that.

Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth — this can save six litres of water a minute.
Place a cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern to reduce the volume of water used in each flush.

Take a shorter shower. Showers can use anything between six and 45 litres a minute. Consider getting an aerated shower head, which combines water and air, or inserting a regulator in your shower, which puts an upper limit on flow rates.

Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher — this cuts out unnecessary washes in between.

Fix a dripping tap. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day, or 5,500 litres of water a year.
Water your garden with water can rather than a hose or sprinkler. A hose can use as much as 1,000 litres of water an hour.

If you must use a sprinkler, water your garden and lawn every few days rather than every day.

Wetting the soil surface every day encourages roots to develop at the surface, making them more vulnerable to hot, dry spells.

Water for shorter periods. For example, setting your system to run for three five-minute intervals over a couple of hours lets the soil absorb more water than watering for 15 minutes continuously.

Mulching plants (with bark chippings, heavy compost or straw) and watering in the early morning or late afternoon will reduce evaporation and also save water.

Fill a jug with tap water and place this in your fridge. It will mean you do not have to leave the cold tap running for the water to run cold before you fill your glass.

Invest in water-efficient goods when you need to replace household products. You can now get water-efficient showerheads, taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and many other water-saving products.