How to save water

Sunday January 28, 2007
Save water (AAP Images)

Saving water in the Kitchen

  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running the tap until the water is cool enough to drink is wasteful.
  • When you clean your fish tank, use the "old" water on your plants. It's rich in nitrogen and phosphorous.
  • Only run the dishwasher when you have a full load.
  • Use the rinse-hold setting on the dishwasher, if it has one, rather than rinsing dishes under the tap.
  • Look for information about the water efficiency performance of any product when making a purchase, however also check to see if the marketing claims are independently verified or substantiated.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't rinse them under a running tap. If you have two sinks, fill the second one with rinsing water. If you have only one sink, stack washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a pan of hot water.
  • Use the minimum amount of dishwashing detergent (when washing dishes by hand) as this will reduce the amount of rinsing required.
  • Use only as much water as you need in the kettle to cut your electricity costs at the same time.
  • When boiling vegetables, use just enough water to cover them and keep the lid on the saucepan. Your vegetables will boil quicker and it will save you water, power - not to mention preserving precious vitamins in the food.
  • Flow controlled aerators for taps are inexpensive and can reduce water flow by 50 percent.
  • Don't use running water to defrost frozen food. Ideally place food in refrigerator to defrost overnight - this is also the healthiest option.
  • Where convenient and appropriate, try to capture "warm-up" water for use on plants, rinsing dishes, washing fruit and vegetables, or other cleaning tasks.
  • Check for leaks and, if there are any dripping taps, replace washers or other components as required. Dripping taps can waste 30 – 200 litres of water per day, so make sure they are turned off properly.

Saving water in the bathroom

  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. A running tap uses about 16 litres of water per minute. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for rinsing.
  • Don’t rinse your razor under a running tap. Fill the sink/basin with a little warm water for rinsing. This is just as effective as running water and far less wasteful.

Tips for the shower:
  • Three star rated showerheads use no more than 9 litres of water per minute, while old style showerheads use 15 – 20 litres per minute. If you shower for six minutes, a water efficient showerhead can save up to 50 litres of water for each shower, or up to 20,000 litres of water per person per year.
  • Use a bucket to collect water while waiting for the shower to get hot
  • Take shorter showers. Limit showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down, and rinse off. Remember that shorter showers also save on energy costs associtated with heating water.
  • Make sure your hot water system thermostat is not set too high. Adding cold water to reduce the temperature of very hot water is wasteful.
  • Use a shower timer. There are a range of manual and electronic timers ranging from simple four minute egg timers to more sophisticated electronic timers that either attach to the shower wall or showerhead or are wired into the wall during construction. These measure volume of water used or time and usually provide an audible tone.

Bathtub Tips:
  • Only fill the tub with as much water as is required, for example when bathing babies or pets you don't need so much.
  • Check the temperature as you fill, you don't want to have to add extra water to get the correct temperature after the bath is at the right level.
  • It's very important to ensure that your plug doesn't leak. A new plug is a cheap water saver.
  • Don’t let the used water go down the drain, especially in a drought. Often this water can be collected and used on the garden, however you should be careful because the soaps and detergents may kill some plants. Only use the water if it is safe to do so. (You could use it to wash your car).

Toilet Tips:
  • If a new toilet is just out of the question, you can purchase small gadgets to reduce the volume used with each flush of an older style toilet.
    They work by causing the toilet to flush only for the duration that you hold the button down - so pressing the button for a shorter period will save water.
    Waterwizz (Toilet Water Saver) and Flexiflush are two examples of these gadgets.
  • Toilet cisterns can develop slow leaks, which waste litres of water each day. Check for new leaks by putting a few drops of food dye into the cistern. If you have a leak, coloured water will appear in the bowl before the toilet has been flushed.

Saving water in the laundry:
Washing Machine Tips

  • Look for clothes washers that have a four or more star rating (WELS label) and seriously consider buying a front loading washer.
  • Look for information about the water efficiency performance of any product when making a purchase, however also check to see if the marketing claims are independently verified or substantiated.
  • If you are buying a new clothes washing machine, choose one with an economy setting or a four star water conservation rating.
  • Adjust the water level to suit the size of the wash load - some new water efficient models will even do this for you.
  • Wait until you have a full load before washing and you’ll save 10 litres of water for every wash and cut your electricity costs as well. Remember that some old washing machines can use up to a bathtub full of water per load.
  • Use the sud-saver option, if your old machine has one, when you have several loads to wash.

Top Tap Tips
  • Leaking taps can usually be fixed with a new washer. This is easy to do - just remember to turn the water off at the main first.
    If a tap still drips after fitting a new washer, you should call a plumber. By paying the plumber once, you’ll save money on each water account.
  • Fixing a leaking hot tap will save you money on your gas or electricity and water account.
  • Make sure your hot water system thermostat is not set too high. Adding cold water to cool very hot water is wasteful.

Top water saving tips:

  • Change shower head
  • Reduce shower time
  • Install toilet weights
  • Fix leaks immediately
  • Always use a full load

    For more tips on how you can save water, visit: savewater

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