With the current drought being recognised as the worst on record, water has never been more precious and we should be doing everything we can to reduce water usage. When it comes to saving water in the home, our first thoughts are about making bigger sacrifices; like reducing the water we use in the garden, taking shorter showers or washing the car less often. Making these sacrifices is undoubtedly important, but many of us may still be unnecessarily wasting water in less noticeable ways due to poor habits.
Here are some little steps that can go a long way in reducing the amount of water that you use:
Seemingly a small step, but leaving the tap running can waste around 6 litres of water each time you brush. Since most people brush their teeth twice a day, that’s 4,380 litres of water annually!
Toilets are another cause of ‘no benefit water waste’ in bathrooms. Each full flush of the toilet can use as much as 6 litres of water. But often a half flush is all that’s needed, and reduces the water usage by 50% each time. Maybe even don’t flush for number ones?
Most people will run the shower briefly to get it up to temperature before stepping in. If we invest a few seconds effort, and put a bucket under the shower flow while it reaches the ideal temperature, those litres of water can be saved for a child’s bath, watering plants, or other uses around the home. Shaving legs while the shower is running takes around 4 minutes, and wastes huge amounts of water, compared to the more efficient option of turning off the shower, and rinsing the razor in a cup of water.
Reduce water usage and water bill costs by ensuring that the water system is well maintained and free from leaks. Poorly maintained taps, pipes, shower heads and toilets can waste an astonishing amount of water.
Although there’s a necessary upfront investment, it may be cost efficient in the long term, and the environmental benefit starts immediately. Choosing a low flow shower head, for example, can reduce shower water consumption by as much as 50%.
Regardless of your starting point, everyone can take a small step forward towards saving water, and it’s more important now than ever before.
Start with little changes that don’t require any monetary outlay, and take very little effort. These small steps include: turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, limiting showers to 4 minutes, using the half-flush where possible and putting the plug in the sink when washing hands or face. These simple changes can save a huge amount of water when they add up over time. To help your family remember, you could make a simple picture poster and put one in every bathroom.
If you’re already following the steps above, you could save even more water with a little extra effort. Use a bucket to catch excess water while adjusting the shower temperature. Putting a full water bottle in the toilet cistern to reduce the water used in each flush (see link below). Fixing any dripping taps and check for toilet leaks may also be achievable without a professional plumber.
If you’ve gone as far as you can to save water in the above ways, consider investing some money in water saving technology for your bathroom. Look for low-flow shower heads if you don’t already have them installed. Consider getting a rainwater tank that connects to the toilet or washing machine. You might choose to start with a Waterfix residential assessment, which allows you to have your home assessed for water saving potential. You may be able to have the cost of any improvements split over your upcoming water bills, rather than paying the full cost upfront. And since the improved efficiency will save money on water use, this may further offset some of those costs.
Resources to get you started:
Guest author: Cheryl Edwards
This article is designed to give an overview of different resources available to help you with the Every Little Step Climate Initiative. Neither Inner West Mums or the author can personally endorse the products and services mentioned, and we always encourage you to do your own research before deciding if a product or service is right for you.