With summer approaching, many cities and municipalities are introducing water conservation measures to reduce water consumption, such as regulating when and how long you are able to water your lawn. Also, water meters are being installed for billing purposes, changing homeowner billings from a flat rate system to a user pay system.
Ways to reduce:
While you are carefully watching your water usage, it is important to make sure that water is not slipping away due to undetected leaks.
If you have a meter, read it at the beginning and end of the day and compare the two totals to determine how much water you used. As you start to incorporate water saving measures, it’s easy to see how much water you are saving.
Find out if you have a leak by turning off all the taps in your house. Then, take a look at your water meter and if you see it still turning, chances are there is a leak.
Undetected toilet leaks waste hundreds of litres of water each day. If you hear the sound of running water, your toilet is probably leaking. Add food colouring to the toilet tank and wait 20 minutes. If coloured water appears in the toilet bowl, a leak is present.
One way to conserve water when using an older toilet is to install a good quality water saving device such as the “Water Wizard”. It’s easy to install and saves 1 gallon of water per flush. If you’re looking at replacing your toilets, a dual flush toilet is a great way to save water, such as a Caroma brand.
Choose new water-saving appliances, like washing machines that save up to 20 gallons per load.
If you find yourself running taps as you wait for hot water to make it’s way to the faucets from the hot water tank then consider installing an Autocirc unit. This device can be retrofitted to existing plumbing fixtures. Hot water will be instantly available at all other faucets in the supply line between the water heater and the faucet where the pump is installed.
Check all faucets and pipes watching for drips, and quickly replace faulty parts. A leaking faucet can waste as much drinking water in a single day as the amount required to sustain one person for an entire week.
Another large water waster is leaks in your irrigation system. Check for water in the gutters or mud puddles. Inspect your sprinklers and drip sprayers regularly during the day. Keep in mind the optimal time to water is at night. If you have an older irrigation system, over 50% and even more than 75% of the water can be wasted.
When manually watering your lawn or plants, set your oven timer to remind you to move the sprinkler promptly. If you have an irrigation system, make sure your irrigation controller has a rain shutoff device and that it's appropriately scheduled. Most water is wasted in the months prior to or just after the rainy season when intermittent rains occur.
When designing you landscape choose native plants that are drought tolerant in dry areas. Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs, and ground cover with rock and mulch. Adding mulch to your beds every spring is a great way to retain moisture.
Lawn and garden watering make up almost 40 per cent of total household water use during the summer. Rain Barrels are easy to install. They come with outlets for both watering cans and hoses. Some municipalities are offering programs to make them available to homeowners.
Remember, with so many ways to save water, do your part. Every drop counts!