7 Tips for Reducing Your Water Waste
Following on from the water-saving benefits of taking an intermittent shower that I wrote about last week, I thought it was worth collecting together all my other tips I use for conserving water on a daily basis.
The potential for wasting water on a personal level is something that I have become more aware of over the past twenty years or so. Although it probably started with the financial benefits when I first had a water meter installed, over the years it’s become one way I can make a small contribution to the environment and also a bit of a challenge to try to reduce my usage as I compare the volume used on the water bill.
- Cleaning your teeth
This one seems so obvious I nearly didn’t include it, but just in case there is anyone out there who has never considered it… There is no need to keep the water running while you are cleaning your teeth. Work out at which points you need water and only run it for the minimum amount of time. If you’re using an electric toothbrush you may find you don’t need any water until you need to rinse your mouth and/or the sink!
- Washing your hands
Although also an obvious one, I find this one slightly trickier, depending on the tap set up available. My ideal routine is wet one hand, lather soap, rinse; apart from a little water at the start I only have the tap running to rinse. However, this greatly depends on how convenient I find it to turn the tap on with soapy hands. If I can just nudge the spout or a lever with the back of my hand to get the water flowing I’m happy (the situation in my bathroom) but where I need to turn the tap I then think about the fact I’ll then need to rinse the soap off the tap, mess and more water usage!
- Keep a jug by the sink
I found (actually I think my mum found for me!) a large enamelled jug that I keep by the kitchen sink. Any time that I need to run a tap (for example to flush out hot water when I need to use cold) or empty anything containing clean water, I do so into the jug. I then use that water for rinsing, or pour it into my watering can that lives by the back door. Depending on your sink set up, this might work in both the kitchen and the bathroom. Unfortunately my bathroom sink is too small to fit a jug under the tap!
- Allow your dirty dishes to accumulate!
Rather than washing things under running water as they are used, wait till you have enough to wash them together in a bowl. I have to admit to not liking the mess of having the washing up items hanging around by the sink, so I keep them in a bowl in the (rarely used and empty) dishwasher so they are out of sight!
- Filling with hot water
If you are filling a bowl, bath or sink with hot water for cleaning or washing, only use the hot tap initially. That way you will get a mix of cold water at the start and then hot as the fully heated water makes it through the pipes. Don’t be tempted to wait until the water is hot before putting the plug in or putting the bowl under the tap. Then stop when you have enough for your task.
- Drinking water
If you drink tap water and like your water cold you may be tempted to leave your tap running while the water cools down. To reduce wasting water in this way, either use the jug method mentioned above, or keep a jug of water in the fridge.
- Avoid using a hosepipe
Where possible I use a bucket or watering can for all garden water-based tasks. In fact I got rid of my hose a few years ago, and that way I wasn’t tempted. This makes you very aware of how much water you are using as you have to refill it. If this really doesn’t work for you because of your gardening needs, then at least have a trigger nozzle so that you are only using water when you choose to, and not while getting from one place to another.
If you are already conscious of your water usage, hopefully there’s something I’ve shared that you haven’t considered before. If you’ve never really thought about it then choose one or two of the tips that you think would be easiest to incorporate into your routines and give them a try.