Friday 22 March is World Water Day and it’s an annual United Nation observance day that highlights the importance of fresh water. The global water day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Monash South Africa’s Water Node have compiled some water saving tips and strategies one can adopt either as an individual, family or an organisation (every day, not just on water day!).
These include (but are not limited to!):
Installation of water-saving shower heads
Research has shown that a water-saving shower head uses up to 50% less water than a regular free flow shower head.
Taking shorter showers (five minutes or less is best!)
The US Federal Plumbing Standards specify that shower taps have a flow rate of not more than an equivalent of about 8.3 litres per minute. If our taps were to adhere to this standard for a five-minute shower one would use close to 42 litres of water! However, with a water efficient shower head you can save almost 40% of this.
Installation of water-saving aerators on your taps
Bathroom and kitchen sink taps account for about 20% of water used in an average home. By installing water efficient aerators one can save up to 40% of water used by sink taps. As a way of enhancing the use of water efficient taps the relevant authorities ought to develop plumbing standards in regards to related water flow rates for sink taps. In the United States of America Federal Plumbing Standards specify that kitchen taps should use no more than an equivalent of about 9.5 litres per minute.
Use a shut-off nozzle on your garden hose
How many of us have filled a bucket of water until it spilled and we had to dash back to the garden tap to shut it off? If we were to use the US standard flow rate above, almost 10 litres of treated water can be lost in a minute! The savings that result from installing a shut-off nozzle will offset the initial cost.
Water your garden and outdoor plants early or late in the day to minimise evaporation
The low ground and atmospheric temperatures in the early hours of the day allow for a much longer water retention time thus resulting in a higher rate of water percolation. This is also true when you water your garden later in the day. The less intense sunlight will reduce the rate of evaporation hence more water retention!
Use a broom not a hose to clean your driveway(s)
Using a hose to clean your driveway can be fun and it gives that instant look of “cleanliness”. However, the practice is irresponsible and discouraged. It wastes water for a task that can be accomplished with a broom. Depending on the obtaining flowrate and the area of the driveway you can waste enough water you could have otherwise saved.
Turn off the tap when scrubbing dishes and pots; turn off the water when soaping your hands or brushing your teeth
When you are not using it shut it off! As in the previous example, you can lose close to 10 litres in a minute. This loss is even worse if you don’t have water efficient aerators installed. The longer your taps are running the more the water you lose which could otherwise have been saved.
Installation of toilet cisterns that use less water per flush
Less than five litres is best!
Wash only full loads when using washing machines
Not only does this save energy but it also saves water! A full load translates to a more efficient washing cycle in terms of water and energy use.
Thawing food in the fridge rather than on running water
Bucket-loads of water are lost this way.
Not filling swimming pools
A swimming pool can lose water to leaks. However, when swimming pools are exposed to the elements they lose more water through evaporation. Add this to the amount of water used to top-up the swimming pool at regular intervals, and this can result in water use of about 24 kilolitres for the pool only! This pushes your water bill up into the higher tariff bands.
It can be noted that most of these waters saving tips are easily implementable in any regular household!