To ensure that we are using our resources wisely, it is important that we conserve and improve water efficiency. The choices we make in our everyday lives can have positive or negative effects on the environment. Whenever it is used, there is a potential for water conservation around your home.
The Golden Rules of Water Conservation
You can cut your water use almost in half by following the three golden rules of water conservation.
Reduce – A surprising amount of water is wasted by simply flushing it down the drain. Become conscious of water-using activities in your home and look for ways to reduce whenever possible.
Repair – A leak of one drop per second wastes 10,000 litres of water per year. Most leaks are simple to find and easily fixed, at low or no cost.
Retrofit – Retrofit means to adapt or replace older, less water efficient fixtures or appliances with one of the many water efficient devices now on the market.
Make Every Drop Count!
Follow these tips to reduce the amount of water you use in your home.
About 10%* of your total indoor water use is in the kitchen. There are many small steps you can take that can add up to big savings!
- Clean fruits and vegetables in a partially filled sink or container. Use the remaining water on your plants.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator to avoid running your tap when you want a cold drink.
- Cook food in as little water as possible. This minimizes water waste and helps retain nutrients.
- Thaw frozen food in the fridge rather than under running water. This is good for both water efficiency and food safety.
- Scrape food off into the garbage bin instead of rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. This minimizes unwanted FOG from running down your sewer drain and reduces your water use.
- Dishwashers can use from 30 to 45 litres of water per cycle. Only run the dishwasher once you have a full load.
- Upgrade your dishwasher to an ENERGY STAR rated model. They use a maximum of 16 litres of water per cycle — less water than required to fill a single average size kitchen sink.
- Adjust the flow rate from your sink faucet to only what is required. Make sure to turn it off tightly, but gently, when you have finished so that it doesn’t drip.
- Minimize the use of in-sink garbage disposals (garburators). They require a lot of water to operate properly and can lead to sewer problems.
The bathroom accounts for about 65%* of the water used inside the home. Since we waste the most here, it is the area where potential water savings are the greatest and easiest to obtain.
- Only flush the toilet when necessary and never use it as a wastebasket. Be sure to flush only what is intended to be flushed down a toilet, meaning only human waste and toilet paper!
- A leaky toilet can waste more than 400 litres of water per day. A dye test can detect hidden (and silent) leaks, letting you know if the flapper valve needs to be replaced.
- Partially fill the sink when shaving or washing your face. Don’t let the water run continuously!
- One bath is equivalent to three showers. If you prefer a bath, only fill the tub half full. Aim to keep your showers less than 8 minutes long.
- Leaving the water running while brushing your teeth can waste enough water for up to 5 baths per month. Instead, use short bursts of water for rinsing.
- If your toilets are over 20 years old, they can use up to three times more water than new toilets. Install dual flush high-efficiency toilets which can use 5 litres of water or less per flush rather than an older toilet that uses around 13 liters per flush. Using a dual flush toilet will allow you to use enough water to flush the contents of the toilet through the sewer line, avoiding possible sewer problems.
- Install high-efficiency showerheads and tap aerators to minimize water flow. These devices can use 25-80% less water than standard shower heads and taps.
On average, washing machines account for over 20%* of your total indoor water use. There are many ways that you can save while still keeping your clothes fresh and clean.
- Standard washing machines often use more than 150 litres of water per load. ENERGY STAR rated washing machines use about half the water and energy used by standard clothes washers to run. Upgrading can save you up to 20,000 litres of water each year.
- Fix or replace dripping laundry tub faucets. Install a low-flow aerator on faucets that don’t already have one.
- Use cold water wash and rinse cycles on your washing machine whenever possible.
- Only operate your clothes washer when you have a full load and soak or pre-treat stains before washing to prevent the need for a second wash.
- If your clothes washer does not automatically adjust water levels, make sure that you match the water level in your clothes washer with the size of the load. Doing so can save up to 37 litres of water for each load.
Around the House
By making a few changes in your home, you can minimize the amount of water you use and lower your utility costs. Some changes may be inexpensive; others may be costly up front but will pay off in the end.
- Insulate your water hot water pipes. You’ll get hot water much faster and it will minimize the amount of water wasted while you wait for the water to heat up.
- Know where your internal water isolation valve is and ensure that it operates properly. You could save water and prevent significant damage should you ever experience a water-related emergency.
Use your water meter to help you monitor your water consumption, checking for and repairing any fixture leaks regularly.