Australia is currently in one of its worst ever droughts. In 2018, 100% of NSW was declared to be in drought due to warmer and drier conditions than normal. The conditions have worsened so water restrictions were enforced. As of December 10th, 2019 level two water restrictions were introduced to large parts of NSW. Level two water restrictions state that you can only water gardens with buckets before 10am and after 4pm for a maximum of 15 minutes. Cars must also be washed with only a bucket and sponge.
Governments and departments like Sydney Water are urging residents to reduce their water use and wastage. With this in mind I created a long list of ways to save water, not only for the current drought but long into the future as well. Saving water is extremely important and is something we must all do.
The below list contains things that won’t cost you any money. You don’t need to purchase any fancy gadgets or new appliances, they are just simple things you can do at home with what you already have. Also, this list wasn’t written specifically for those living in Australia, for those on water restrictions, or for those living in drought but for everyone, everywhere.
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Ways to save water at home
In the bathroom
1. Fill a small cup of water when brushing your teeth to rinse your toothbrush and rinse your mouth out. A running tap will use much more water than a small cup.
2. Leave a bucket, or buckets, in your shower and collect as much water as possible. You can water your garden or wash your car with the water collected.
3.Take shorter showers. A standard shower can use between 15 and 25 litres of water per minute. By cutting down your shower to five minutes or less you can save a lot of water.
4. You might also want to consider taking fewer showers. Taking a five minute shower twice daily could use more than 150 litres of water. Cutting your shower down to once a day will half that. If it’s possible you could even try showering every second day to lower that amount further.
5. Use the half flush on your toilet as often as you can. A full flush uses between four and a half and six litres of water per flush, while a half flush uses about three litres per flush. The average person goes to the toilet six to seven times a day so using the half flush will use about 6,500 litres per year, per person, compared to a full flush which could use more than 9,800 litres per year, per person.
In the kitchen
6. Avoid rinsing your dirty dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. If you rinse, leave a container underneath and use that water on your plants.
7. When using the dishwasher only turn it on when there is a full load of dishes. An eco setting will use less water and perform the rinse and wash at lower temperatures.
8. If you wash dishes in the sink fill your sink up with soapy water instead of running the tap. If you have two sinks fill the second one up with enough water to rinse your dishes. However, if you don’t have a second sink to rinse you can use a spray bottle, rather than using the tap.
9. Rinse your fruit and vegetables in a sink or bowl of water rather than under a running tap, then water your plants.
10. If when you turn the tap on and you have to wait for water to turn hot, place a jug under the tap to collect all that water. The jug can then be refrigerated so everyone can enjoy cold water. Alternatively, you could place ice trays under the tap and then freeze them.
In the laundry
11. Another really easy way to care for your garden is to use the grey water from your washing machine. Simply fill a few buckets up with the grey water, rather than let it go down the drain.
12. Only do a load of clothes washing when there is enough for a full load. Try re wearing clothes for a second day. Your clothes may only need airing, rather than a wash. Bath towels and hand towels don’t need regular washing, reuse them for a few days.
13. If you have a pool don’t constantly jump in it and make waves of water. Spilling water out of the pool means that you will need to top it up again using more precious water.
14. Plant local, native Australian plants tolerant of drought conditions. These plants can go longer periods without water. Native plants are also great for attracting native birds and pollinating insects like butterflies and endemic Australian bees.
15. Use a top layer of mulch in your garden. Mulch will retain the water for longer in your garden so that you have to water less often.
Simple ways to save water
I hope the above water saving tips help you during one of Australia’s worst droughts and into the future. Water is a precious resource that we need to use sparingly
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