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Ways to Save Water

Updated on January 5, 2014

Reducing the amount of water you use at home has dual benefits. Not only is it better for the environment, but it can also save you money. The easiest and cheapest way to conserve water starts with changing your behaviour. In this article we will explore ways to become an efficient water user by changing habits, appliances and more.

Beautiful, refreshing water
Beautiful, refreshing water | Source

Water conservation made easy

  • Use less water
  • Make the most of the water you do use
  • Repair leaks
  • Replace water wasters

The Kitchen

Turn off that tap

It all boils down to this - don’t turn the tap on unless you are filling something up.

  • If you are rinsing fruit and vegetables, put the plug in the sink or use a container to wash the worst of the dirt away.
  • With most of the newer dishwashers you don’t need to rinse all your dishes first. Just scrape off what you can and let the dishwasher deal with the rest.
  • Keep some water in the fridge so you don’t need to use icecubes or run the tap waiting for the water to get cold.

Fully Loaded

If you are using water, make sure you’re getting the most from it.

  • Wait until you have a full load before running the dishwasher and use the most efficient cycle.
  • If washing by hand, wait until you have lots to dishes and use detergent as sparingly as possible.

Catch Me if You Can

Don’t let perfectly good water slip away.

  • Pop a container underneath the tap while you're waiting for the water to heat up then use it on your garden or houseplants.
  • Likewise with unfinished glasses of water. Rather than tipping them down the drain use it on your plants.

Hunt Down Leaks

Leaks are notorious and often hidden water wasters.

  • Check your taps and plumbing to make sure you don’t have any leaks. If you have a water meter, get everyone in the house to stop using water then take a reading straight away. After an hour (overnight is better) with no water being used, take another reading. If there has been a change then either someone’s had a sneaky glass of water or you’ve got a leak. See if you can find any damp spots on walls, floors or the roof or green or muddy patches in the yard. These can be indicators about where you might find the leak.

Energy Stars

Researching your appliances before purchasing makes sense for your wallet in the short and long term if you choose energy and water efficient options.

  • Many countries have a rating scheme for appliances. If yours doesn't, it just means you'll have to do some additional research yourself.

Go Old School

If you don’t need to use an appliance you could always do what they did in the olden days..

  • Wash by hand instead of using a dishwasher.
  • Compost instead of using a garbage disposer.

Droplets falling from a shower head
Droplets falling from a shower head | Source

What's your preferred way of getting clean?

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The Bathroom

Don't Leave the Tap Running

Leaving the tap to run is like pouring money down the drain.

  • When you shave or brush your teeth, turn the tap off. Use a plug in the sink for most of your shaving and a glass to rinse with when brushing your teeth.

Wash Smart

Showering instead of bathing can save 80 - 160 litres of water at a time.

  • Have shorter showers or share them.
  • Don’t wash your hair everyday. This will save you time, dollars and you won’t be stripping the oil from your hair.
  • Don't turn the shower on then wander off.
  • Catch the water while you wait for the shower to heat up.
  • Use cold water for most of your hand washing.

Low Flow

Take the thinking out of the equation by installing water efficient fittings in the shower, bath and sink.

  • Swap your showerhead for a water conserving one.
  • Install aerators or flow regulators.
  • Ask your plumber for other suggestions that suit your home.

The Toilet

Sitting Pretty

Adjusting the amount of water you flush away can make a huge difference to how much water you save. Particularly when a three-person household uses around 25% of its water in the loo.

  • Dual flush toilets are great options to adjust the volume of the flush.
  • For older single flush toilets, cistern displacement devices, dual flush adaptors and flush saver devices can reduce the water wastage.
  • You could pop a plastic soft drink bottle filled with water into the cistern to decrease the amount of water available for a flush. You may need to try different sized bottles until you get the flush the way you want it.
  • There are also composting toilets available for the truly committed!
  • Ask your local council or plumbing store for other options or further information about these ideas.

The Laundry

No Half Measures

Keep an eye on the size and type of load you have to wash.

  • Make use of your machine's cycles to lower the water level and number of rinses where possible.
  • Buy an efficient washing machine.
  • You can use the greywater from the rinse cycle in the garden but you will need to have a system that lets you do this safely.

Old outside tap
Old outside tap | Source

The Yard

What's the Weather Like

Choose when you use water outside.

  • Water your garden in the cooler part of the day to minimise evaporation. Avoid windy weather for the same reason.
  • Don't water too frequently. Depending where you are and what's growing in your garden, a weekly soak of the roots may be preferable.

Take Aim

Where you water is important.

  • Aim your efforts on the ground not the leaves or flowers to also reduce evaporation and damage to your plants.
  • Check where your sprinkler is spraying. There's no point giving your driveway a drink. Watering cans or hoses with adjustable sprayers are better.
  • Don't overwater your garden. Use a timer if you need to. Also adjust the amount of watering to the type of plant and stage of growth.

The Part Plants Play

Your garden plays a role in minimising water consumption.

  • Landscape with native plants. They're better acclimatised to local weather and soil conditions.
  • Use mulch to reduce evaporation.
  • Create shade and provide windbreaks to also help lessen evaporation.

Outdoor Activities

You can do other things to be more efficient with your use of water outdoors.

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways.
  • Clean the car with the help of a bucket, not the hose.
  • Cover up pools and spas so the water isn't vaporised.

Free Water

It just falls from the sky.

  • Installing a rain barrel provides you with another source of water for the garden and reduces the volume of runoff going into the storm water system. You may also be able to use the water from your rainwater tank in the house but this is dependent on many things. Check with your local council about what is permitted.

It's Easy to Start Saving Water

Those are a few ideas to help you get started with your water conservation efforts at home.

I'd love to hear any ways you're saving water in your home and any lessons learned.

What are some other ways you save water in your home?

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    • LWhip profile imageAUTHOR

      LWhip 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for all of the comments and I'm very sorry for the belated reply.

      I love that we've all been able to connect from Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, India, the USA and many other places besides over this common concern about not wasting our shared resource - water.

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 

      4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hubs, great tips! Most of these I already make use of in my home but definitely some new ideas to make better use of the water outside like the rain barrel. Congrats of HOTD!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      4 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on HOTD. These are great water saving tips. We save water and money at the same time.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      Congratulations on HOTD LWhip.

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 

      4 years ago from Fountain, CO

      Great ideas! What a beautiful article. :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      4 years ago from the short journey

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day for these money saving tips that can be especially useful to those who use a city/community water service and do not have their own well. Studying the earth's closed water system is fascinating and continuing research is exciting. NASA's work may prove interesting in unexpected ways: http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography...

      Also, here's an EPA video that teaches young students how water is recycled in the earth:

      http://www.epa.gov/safewater/kids/flash/flash_wate...

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      4 years ago from Germany

      Congratulations on the HOTD! These are good tips to save water and of course money. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 

      4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Congrats on HOTD! Great tips on water conservation, including some that were new ideas for me.

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Dan Robbins 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      Very good ideas. Fixing things that leak is a biggie. Nowadays, new plumbing products have made it easy for people to make these repairs themselves too. Save water, save time, save money...winner, winner, winner!

      Congrats on HOTD!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice and useful tips!

      We must use judicious use of our Natural resources. Thanks for sharing and Congrats for HOTD!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very useful! These tips for saving water are obvious and easy to do. Thanks!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Very nicely written article with practical, doable tips on how to save water. Nice to know that it all begins with us, so each of us, in our own little way, can play a role in water preservation.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love your ideas for saving water, LWhip! This is a very useful hub. I follow some of your suggestions, but I need to follow more of them. Water conservation is an important topic.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      This is a very good Hub LWhip. I try hard to save water because I also am trying to save on all of my bills.

      Unless the temperature gets to cold during the winter, I only use cold water - it also saves on my gas. For my clothes, I wash leave the washer on one setting - med./warm/cold - and always wash the loads about the same times apart. It saves water and gas.

      Kevin

    • merej99 profile image

      Meredith Loughran 

      4 years ago from Florida

      A very useful hub with lots of great ideas on conserving water. I never thought to save the water while waiting for my shower to get to temperature but it would be great to water the plants or even flush the toilet with. Voting up. :)

    • eugbug profile image

      Eugene Brennan 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      Plenty of useful common sense info here - voted up!

      Rain is a great source of free water which is perfectly adequate for flushing toilets. Local council regulations however stipulate that measures should be taken to prevent any stored water from siphoning back into the mains supply.

    • LWhip profile imageAUTHOR

      LWhip 

      4 years ago

      We have plenty of droughts in various regions here in New Zealand. I seem to recall a 'reservoir level indicator' of some sort years ago that would tell us whether we'd have sufficient water in our part of the country through the future summer months. Since then a very large pipe was put into a very large river as a back-up.

      But the lessons are ingrained when you learn how to conserve in childhood. I certainly remember being concerned about sharing baths with a very grubby brother and trying my best to ensure that didn't happen!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Nice work. I do much of what you suggest already. Many energy star dishwashers use less water than washing by hand.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      4 years ago from Northern California

      We are looking at a very dry summer ahead here in California. Our rainfall is so low that drought appears to be upon us. Saving water is everyone's concern.

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