Conserving water is becoming more important as we deal with the effects of climate change. Water conservation is also about saving money. The average American family spends over $1,000 per year on the water. This can be reduced significantly by changing the way we use water every day.
You can make water-conscious improvements in your kitchen, bathroom, yard, or elsewhere around the house.
1. Look out for Leaks
First, ensure that all water in your home is being used. Leakage is the leading cause of household water losses that average 10,000 gallons per year. This can lead to higher water bills.
Monitor the water meter for two hours without water to check for leaks in pipes, faucets, flappers, and other plumbing components. A simple way to find a leaky toilet is to put a drop of food coloring in the tank. A leak is detected if the color disappears from the bowl in less than 10 minutes.
Most repairs are simple and do not require any tools. However, if the problem persists it may be time to call a plumber.
2. Recycle water from rinsing vegetables to watering plants
Instead of letting the water run down the drain, use a basin to catch the water when you wash fruits and vegetables. This can be used to water outdoor or indoor plants or mope your home.
3. Rainwater Barrels
Rain barrels are a great way to capture more rainwater for washing your car or watering plants. These barrels connect to downspouts to direct rainwater off roofs. They also have a spigot for filling watering cans and other vessels. You can also collect the water to prevent flooding and erosion of your property.
You can buy rain barrels at your local hardware or garden store, or you can make one yourself. Place a 55-gallon plastic barrel on a platform made of cinderblock near the downspout. Two small holes should be drilled on each side. One near the top for the overflow adapter and one near the bottom for the spigot. Connect the spigot to the end of the hose. Attach a flexible downspout extender to the barrel’s top. To collect leaves and debris, cover the barrel end with a mesh bag. Make sure you empty it after every rain event.
Although large water barrels are useful for larger properties, you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment to collect water. You can use plastic storage containers, buckets, and other large vessels outside to collect rainwater. This is especially true if your outdoor watering requirements are low and you will be able to use it quickly.
It is important to remember that rainwater collected should not be drunk. When watering vegetables, pour the water at their base (rather than soaking them), and wash everything you intend to eat with tap water.
4. Get rid of the lawn
Other environmental effects of lawn care include synthetic fertilizers, loss in biodiversity, and emissions from gas-powered mowers. It is estimated that 30 to 70% of residential drinking water is consumed outdoors.
Plant native species instead of a monocropped, water-intensive lawn. They are more adaptable to local conditions and require less water. These plants can also help to support mammal, bird, and insect populations. This will create a healthy backyard ecosystem. You can also try drought-resistant grasses, trees, or shrubs if you live in a dry climate.
5. Set Up a Stale Water Bin
Instead of pouring empty glasses of water down your drain, you can pour them into a pitcher or beverage dispenser (similar to the one you use for lemonade or water at parties). This water can be used to water your houseplants instead of tap water. As an added bonus, it will not contain the chlorine or fluoride that some plants are sensitive to.
6. Replace old appliances
High water consumption is caused by high water use in clothes washers, dishwashers, and toilets. An average American uses 82 gallons per day in their home. However, water-efficient fixtures and appliances can reduce that usage by 20%.
Consider replacing old appliances with newer, more efficient models if you can. Look for products that have the WaterSense label – a program sponsored by the EPA – to show that they are designed to use less water than conventional appliances. WaterSense-labeled toilets are capable of saving up to 16,000 gallons per year for a family of four. Dual-flow models have separate settings for liquids or solids to limit water consumption. Old clothes washers can also be a drain on water, so if you have one that was made before 1999, replace it with one that has a lower water factor and only run full loads.
Although appliances can be costly to replace, water savings might be enough to cover the cost of a new machine in a few years.
7. Use low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators
In addition to replacing larger appliances, water-saving fixtures such as low-flow showerheads or aerators can also make a difference. The average family can save approximately 3,500 gallons per year by switching over to WaterSense-labeled models.
Low-flow showerheads do just what they sound like. They reduce the flow of water into the shower, without sacrificing effectiveness. Standard showerheads can use 2.5 gallons per minute. With showering accounting for 17% of indoor water use, reducing this number can make a huge difference. Faucets aerators serve a similar purpose. These small, metal screens attach to the faucet’s spigot and allow for a larger flow of water. This allows for more efficient use of water. Aerated water activates soap bubbles faster, so less water is required.
WaterSense-labeled fixtures can also be Energy Star-certified. This means that families can reduce their water bills by more than $380 per year by switching to water-sensible appliances.
8. Time Showers
You should not leave the water on your head for too long, whether you have a low-flow or high-flow showerhead. Keep your showers short at five minutes. When soaping up or shaving, turn off the water and wash your hair less often if you can.
It’s a good idea to set a timer so you know when it’s your turn to go.
9. Implement Sensible Kitchen Practices
Some water-saving measures don’t have to be complicated. To make sure water doesn’t get wasted, you can make a few adjustments in your kitchen. Instead of running water and dumping the scraps in the garbage disposal, keep cold water in the refrigerator. Plug the sink when you wash dishes by hand so they soak. The water which is discharged from RO machine can be used too for household chores.
10. Use the Dishwasher
Not surprisingly, dishwashers can be more water-efficient than hand-washing dishes. A 2020 study showed that dishwashers use 50% less water than hand-washing for 10 years. Dishwashers also use less energy, which means that they emit fewer greenhouse gases from heating and pumping.
Avoid washing more than one load. Instead, ensure that you only wash full loads.
You can use one side of a 2-basin sink to soak and soap (or a plastic basin in one sink) and the other to rinse.
Pooja Chandak is an avid reader and an experienced content writer. Apart from blogs, she writes quotes and poems. She started writing when she was in school. Pooja currently works as a Content Development Executive for a Mumbai-based company.