The recent rain and beautiful Summer storms have been absolutely lovely to experience. They have even promoted a little bit of green in our backyards and across the community.
In saying that, it’s important that we do not let this small amount of rainfall distract us. There is still a water emergency we are all living through in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area. This week, council-imposed water restrictions have reached level 4 after water storage for the region dropped to 39%. You can see the instructions and recommendations for this here. With this in mind, we have collected together some water saving tips that are pretty easy for us all to adopt. You may not feel that our changes make any difference in the scheme of things, but we need to keep in mind that every drop counts!
- Collect your shower water. This is the easiest way to reuse water at home, making it the #1 water saving tip! Water from the shower can be reused after a bath by plugging the drain and letting the bath fill up. It can then be manually collected from the bathtub using a bucket. If your shower is not over your bath, just stand in a large bucket when taking a shower to collect the water. The collected water can be reused for watering outdoor flowers and lawns. If you only have a smaller bucket on hand, you can collect the water that is wasted while waiting for the hot water to come through. This can be used for anything from drinking water to laundry, as the water is not contaminated by anything.
- Almost a quarter of our household water is used in the shower. Cutting your shower time by just 2 minutes can result in a water saving of up to 30%. Try using a shower timer or even your favourite 4-minute song to time your showers. Depending on your shower head, you will use somewhere between 9L and 19L of water per minute in the shower. If you cut 2 minutes off your shower time a day, you will save up to 1100L of water a month!
- Just under 10% of total household water use goes down the toilet! When you can, choose the half flush when you use the loo.
- Leaving the tap running when brushing your teeth wastes up to 10L per minute. A recent survey shows 8/10 people in Australia have changed their habit and are now turning the tap off. If you’re in that last 20% – cut it out! Such an easy way to conserve our precious water.
Kitchen & Living
- No one wants to drink the warm water that comes out the tap first, but rather than pouring it down the plughole, catch it in a bottle or jug and pop it in the fridge. If you don’t have fridge space to store it, try putting it aside to use for cooking, or water your indoor plants.
- Plan ahead! Make sure you defrost frozen food overnight in the fridge rather than using running water – it just takes a little planning. Otherwise, use the microwave instead of the sink to defrost your dinner.
- Remember to keep the lid on when boiling vegetables or pasta – it prevents the loss of all that wonderful water into the air! It’s also one of the most nutrient rich kitchen water, and can be a real treat for your garden or potted plants! Make sure you let the water cool down first, though.
- It may sound really obvious – but fill your dishwasher before using it. It’s tempting to run it half full sometimes, but it can effectively double your water use. Waiting until its full and using the eco option are the best ways to maximise its water efficiency.
- Have a fish tank? When you clean it, you can make use of that water rather than pouring it down the drain. Use the ‘old’ nitrogen and phosphorous-rich water on your plants and watch your garden flourish.
- You can save 50L of water when you wash one less load per week! Washing machines account for 16% of all water used inside the average home. Reducing your washing by just one load a week could save almost 2,600L each year! So next time you go to throw something in the laundry basket, ask yourself if it’s really dirty, or if you could wear it again.
- Fix leaky taps – Dripping taps don’t just sound annoying, they waste enormous amounts of water, anywhere in the region of 30-200 litres a day! Over a year, that’s over 70,000 litres of water that could be saved. Its also a decent reduction to your bill! If you think you may have a leak that you can’t see, get to know your water meter. A leak is present when you see the numbers moving while there is no water being used in your home.
- If you’re able to get your hands on one, a small greywater system can be plumbed into your toilet, shower and washing machine. A greywater system can help you save drinking water by watering your garden with water from the bath, shower or washing machine. A greywater system in a 4 person house can provide around 40, 000L of water per year to use on your garden.
Garden & Outdoor
- Trap rainwater – Collecting rainwater is equally part of water reuse that many people do not recognise. The installation of gutters for diverting rainwater to where it can be stored in a small tank is something most of us could implement. After collection, the water can be used in the garden to water plants, for laundry and many other purposes. Rainwater is considerably clean and safe compared to other types of used water such as grey water.
- Use a pool cover – Using a pool cover between swims reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation. Without one it’s possible to lose more than your pool’s entire volume of water every year into the air.
- Visit the car wash! Washing your car at home will see you use a minimum of about 150L of water. Most car washes are set up to use recycled or reclaimed water sources.
- Use a broom or rake rather than a hose or a pressure cleaner to clean your driveways and hard surfaces.
All of these are just ideas, we are sure there are many other water saving tips and techniques. If you have any, make sure you share them on our Facebook Page so we can get the word out! At the Westport Club, we are set up to use bore water and are very aware of limiting our water use wherever possible.
If we all work together, we can make a difference. We are looking forward to the end of this horrible drought.