I remember how shocked I was when I first read that only a small percentage (about 0,3 -0,5 percent) of the water on earth is usable by humans. The rest is in oceans, soils, icecaps, and floating in the atmosphere. And much of the small percentage that is usable, is unattainable.
“The earth, the air, the land, and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So we have to handover to them at least as it was handed over to us.”– Gandhi
We need to start thinking differently about how we use water and how much of it we use. There are many ways to save water in and around your home. Harvesting rainwater in tanks is a great option, as well as re-using grey water, but both take some planning and budgeting. Here are ten simple ways to save water in your home starting today.
Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your hands
This is one of the easiest ways of saving water in your home. When brushing your teeth, wet your brush and fill a glass for rinsing your mouth. Instead of having the tap running while you shave, fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of warm water in which to rinse your razor. While you are singing happy birthday to ensure that you have washed your hands well and long enough turn the tap off.
Take shorter showers or take a shallow bath
A typical shower uses 18 to 37 litres of water per minute. By showering for 5 minutes instead of ten you could save a lot of water. In summer months consider turning the tap off while you soap yourself. Or consider replacing that long shower with a shallow bath, a partially filled bath uses less water than the shortest shower.
Collect run-off water in your shower
Whether with a bucket or a series of old plastic containers, showering with a water receptacle on the floor of the shower to collect run-off can save up to 60 litres of water per person per day. That water can be used to water plants or flush toilets.
Check for leaks
Leaking toilets, taps and pipes waste a lot of water. A leaking toilet can waste up to 350 litres of water a day. To check if your toilet has a leak drop a little food colouring into your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the water in the toilet bowl is coloured you have a leak. How clever is that?
Place a plastic bottle in your toilet tank
Another way of saving water in your bathroom is to fill a litre bottle with a few pebbles and water (to weigh it down) and place it in your toilet tank, safely away form the operating mechanism. In an average home, this bottle may safe up to 20 litres of water a day without influencing the efficiency of the toilet.
Use your automatic dishwasher and washing machine for full loads only
The average dishwasher uses roughly 95 litres and washing machine 115 litres of water per load – so make sure they are full before pressing start.
Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge
If you are still lucky enough to drink tap water, fill a bottle and keep it in the fridge. This will put a stop to the wasteful practice of running the tap until the water is cool enough to drink.
Plant water-wise plants
Choose plants and trees that do not need a lot of water. A layer of mulch around trees and plants will also slow down evaporation.
Water your garden during the cooler parts of the day
As a rule the best time to water your garden is before 10:00 and after 16:00.
Eat a little less meat
According to Tiny Tips That Shake the World cutting meat from your diet for a week saves 130 litres of water. I am not advocating a plant-based diet, but it seems cutting down on meat can make a difference in more ways than one.
Happy World Water Day!