How to save water is one of the most important questions this day. Water is one of an essential natural resources for the living beings to thrive on the Earth. In fact, water constitutes about 57% of the human body and also covers 71% of the Earth's surface. Amazingly, only 3% of the total water present on Earth is suitable for the consumption by humans.
Even in an area with ample rainfall, the water can only be used after processing, heating, pumping, re-pumping and re-processing it so that water becomes suitable for human consumption. As water is a scarce resource, its conservation is very necessary. We can also save water by using various ways from compost toilet-level conservations to certified germaphobes. There are multiple ways and steps to save water which will be discussed as follows:
The average consumption of water by a family consisting of four members is 450 liters (about 120 gallons) per day, which means that the total water consumption of such family in a year will be 164,000 liters (around 44,000 gallons).
Indoor water conservation
Saving water from taps:As we normally see around us, if taps are kept open at times when no water is used from them then a lot of water gets wasted. Turn the tap/faucet off while you are shaving, soaping up hands, doing dishes, brushing teeth, etc. Also, you can turn off the tap while taking a shower.
After soaking yourself during a shower, turn off water from the shower head while you are soaping your body. Turn on water taps only when required and close the water supply when not in use. There may be a twist valve present behind your shower head which is used to set the temperature of water while the water is off.
- Water supplied from a hot water tank contains more rust and sediment than water that is supplied from a cold water tank. The water supplied from the cold water tank is more suitable for drinking than water from the hot water tank. Also, you can filter stored water using a water filter and put it in containers and can be used for drinking purpose. Best reverse osmosis system can remove almost 100% of the contaminants.
- When you are waiting for hot water from a tap, bath faucet or shower, there is a little amount of cold water that comes out before hot water (if you are not using tankless water heaters). Catch/store this cold water and use it later to water plants or you can pour this water into the reservoir of your toilet after flushing.
Checking for leaks:Check your plumbing for leaks. Leaks are specifically found in toilets, faucets, and taps. If you come across such leaks, be sure to get them fixed as soon as possible. On an average, about 30 to 500 gallons of water get wasted by a silent (one that is not easily visible and doesn't produce water leakage sound) toilet leak.
Conservation of water in the bathroom:
Installing faucets or faucet aerator and shower heads having low-flow of water:Low flow showerheads are easy to install, simply screw them in place and installing may require only an adjustable wrench. These water saver shower head is a great example of great water saver and maintains the pressure and flow of water even while using only half the amount of water used by other conventional units.
Also, these water saver shower heads are inexpensive as a shower head costs only $10-$20, and a faucet aerator costs less than $5. And if you have the low flow you can use high pressure showerheads for the better experience and low water consumption.
Taking short showers:You have to shorten your showering time and to accomplish so; you have to challenge yourself to cut the period while taking the shower. Save water shower together is another great method.
You can also use a timer, clock or stopwatch to aid you successfully accomplish the task. Play music while you are showering and gradually, reduce the time of showering by reducing the number of songs played each time. Turn off the shower while you are shaving or shave outside the shower.
- For saving water in bathroom, you should take a shower rather than a bath. Bathing generally requires 100 liters of water, whereas, on the other hand, the amount of water used for showering is only one-third of this amount.
- You could also install a valve behind the shower head. These valves are used to turn off the water and preserve the temperature of water while you are soaping up. Turn the water on as long as you get soaked then close the water using valve, after that, you ought to soap up and then again turn on the water to rinse.
Use waste water or gray water:You can use waste water or gray water which comes from bath, dish washing and washing machines. A hand-operated siphon pump is used to re-use the bath water.
When you are washing dishes, you could rinse the dishes into a container to accumulate the gray water and use the waste water later for watering plants in your garden. Collect water you use for cleaning fruit, vegetables, etc... Also, you could use waste water from your washing machine by hooking up a hose to your machine's outlet and diverting waste water into your garden.
- Collect water that is used for boiling eggs or pasta and also, the water which is used for rinsing purposes.
- While waiting for the water at the desired temperature or when you are adjusting the temperature of the water, you could collect the water that is wasted during the waiting time period.
- If you wish to use the gray water for the garden, then use garden-compatible soaps and other products.
- If you do not wish to use the gray water because you are uncertain that whether the gray water will be suitable for your plants or not, then you can use the gray water for flushing in your toilet.
Converting toilet to low flush toilet:
To convert your toilet to low flush, you have to place a water bottle made of plastic in the flush tank which will displace some of the water every time flush is used.
If necessary, you can add weight to the bottle with sand or pebbles in the flush tank. Also, you can try to order a 'hippo' or 'save-a-flush' from your local water board.
- Before converting your toilet flush to low flush check that your toilet can flush effectively when the amount of water is reduced. This is so because all toilets are not able to adapt to the low flush.
- You can upgrade easily to a low flush toilet. There are such types of low flush toilets which can flush reliably with 6 liters (1.6 gallons) of water or even less. To find a more effective and good low flush toilet you can go through product reviews before buying.
- If you don't want the sand or pebbles to get loose in your flush tank, make sure that the lid on the plastic water bottle is tightened. This is done in order to prevent the sand or pebbles, used to make the bottle heavy, get loose in the flush tank.
Upgrade or create a dual-flush toilet:Dual-flush toilet is a type of toilet in which the amount of water flushed is different for peeing and pooping.
For peeing the amount of water flushed is smaller while a larger amount of water is used up for pooping. Half flush button is used with dual-flush toilet.
You can convert your current toilet into dual-flush toilet by simply buying a dual flush conversion kit which will help in saving water.
Select flush and two flush are economical and efficient working conversion kits. You can search these devices on the web to get an additional info on them.
Use your toilet properly:You do not have to flush every time. Flush only when it's brown and if it's yellow then let it mellow. On an average 9 liters of water is used for each flush. This water is wasted easily so use flush wisely and conserve water.
Conservation of water in the kitchen and laundry:
Replacing your washing machine with a high efficiency washer:To save water you have to upgrade your standard washers to high efficiency washers for washing clothes. Around 40 to 45 gallons of water is used per load by old-style top-load washers, and a family of four uses about 300 loads per year.
High efficiency front load washers use only 15 to 30 gallons per load which means that these highly efficient washers can save about 11,400 to 34,000 liters (3000 to 9000 gallons) of water a year.
Don't wash until full laundry or dish loads:To save water, don't wash clothes until you have a full load of clothes requiring washing. When you are washing clothes using a washing machine or washer then make sure to use the economy mode of the washing machine or washer.
The economy mode helps in saving both electricity and water. In the same way, load the dishwasher when it is full, but be sure not to over load the dishwasher or else you can incur unnecessary expenses.
- If your dishes are not getting cleaned properly without pre-rinsing, then you have to make sure that you are loading dishwasher properly. Also make sure that the dishwasher is in a good condition and you are using a detergent which is effective with the dishwasher. Throw large pieces of food waste into the trash.
- Modern dishwashers are very efficient in saving water as compared to washing by hands, this is so because the pump of these dishwashers use the same water again and again inside the tub. Also, check and compare the water and energy usage of a dishwasher against other possible options before buying. This will ensure you getting a best fit equipment for you.
- If you are planning to buy a new washing machine, then be sure to choose wisely. Front load washers are much more efficient in saving water as compared to top load washers.
- Detergents that are used in the laundry should be selected in such a way that they rinse clothes completely eliminating the requirement of an additional rinse.
Reduce laundry:To achieve the aim of decreasing laundry, all the family members have to produce less laundry.
By decreasing your laundry, you can have the advantage of saving wear and tear of your clothes and time required to do the laundry. Do not wash your clothes until they are dirty enough or smell badly.
- Each family member should have his/her own towel. If be needed, get different colored towels. Use towel multiple times before washing them. Hang your towel on a towel hangar after each time you use it to dry yourself after taking a shower.
- Change your clothes in midday only if you have something messy to do like gardening, working out, painting etc. For such messy tasks you should set aside a set of clothes which could be used multiple times before washing. Also you could do such type of activities before taking a regular shower. This will help saving an extra shower and additional clothing.
- Wear your clothes more than once, this will help in reducing laundry. Change your underwear and socks daily, but you can wear your jeans, slacks, skirts multiple times between washings. If you shower before going to bed at night, then you could wear your pajamas for multiple nights before getting them washed. Change only the innermost layer of your clothing and wear a sweater or sweatshirt over a tank top or t-shirt.
Dispose your garbage properly:Do not try to wash down solid trash down the sink instead, collect the solid trash in a trash can or dustbin, this is so because a lot of water is used to get rid of the solid garbage and this is a complete wastage of water.
Outdoor water conservation:
Installing a water meter:To find the amount of water you are using, you should install a water meter. Water meter shows readings of the amount of water that is used by you and your family. Water meter can help you to save water by raising your awareness.
- If already a water meter is installed in your house, then learn how to read it.
- Apart from showing the amount of water used, a water meter is very helpful in detecting leaks of water in your pipes. To find if there is any leak in your piping you have to take reading of your water meter once, then you have to wait for one or two hours without running any water and then again take the reading. If there is change in the reading of the water meter, then it is a clear sign that a leak is present.
- Many of the water meters comes with a small wheel or gear which is visible from outside and rotates with the flow of water. If all of water sources in your house is off and still the wheel of water meter rotates then this indicates that a leak is present.
- If your water meter is installed underground, then remove the debris from it so that the readings can be easily visible. Clear the face of the water meter using water or any other cleaner to get a clearer reading face of meter.
Cover swimming pool:You should cover your swimming pool or portable tub to prevent evaporation of water. Emptying and re-filling swimming pool is restricted in many places, because it causes a huge amount of water to get wasted.
Timed water usage:You can also save water by limiting your time period of using water. For your outdoor taps/faucets and sprinkler use a timer so that you can limit your time of using them.
You can also use an automatic timer which enables to sprinkle your garden at specific times of day when the water is best absorbed by the soil and the plants.
There are inexpensive timers available in market which are placed and screwed between the hose and hose bib.
Also you can install a programmable timer which will work with the sprinkler or drip system.
- Do not water your garden faster than the limit of time taken by soil to absorb the water, this will cause wastage of water. Always prevent yourself from over-watering your garden. You can also divide your lawn into smaller segments or cut the watering time so that enough time is available for soil to absorb water.
- If you are using sprinkler and irrigation timer, then be sure to adjust their settings according to the seasons. When weather is cool and wetter then very little water is required and during hot and dry weather a lot of water is required by the soil and the plants.
- If you manually irrigate your garden or lawn, then be sure to use a kitchen timer before turning water on. If you are not using a timer, then stay with the hose all the time to avoid wastage of water.
Maintenance of sprinkler and irrigation system:If you are using sprinklers and irrigation timer, then check them for repairs or damage. Make sure that the sprinklers are directing water in the required direction and fix broken pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
Washing your car:For washing your car, you can use a bucket or a trigger nozzle hose. There is such type of products available in market such as waterless sprays and wipe car products, but these products are costly and it would be great to use them if you can afford them.
- Wash your car at a car wash. Many car washes use less water and also reuse it by filtering it properly.
- Use such type of cleansers which are environment friendly so that you can use the water in your garden after washing your car. Also wash your car in your lawn if possible.
- Do not wash your car frequently. If dirt and dust accommodates on your car for a little long period, then it will do no harm.
Cleaning the driveway or sidewalk:Use a rake, leaf blower to clean the sidewalk and driveway by removing dry matter. After removing the dry matter do not use a use a hose as it will only cause wastage of water and will not hydrate the soil, instead let the rain do the rest.
Conservation of water when gardening:
Use water efficient techniques:You can use a trigger nozzle on your house to save water and using watering can also help you to save water. During rain, store the rain water which can later be used for watering plants, lawn or garden.
When you are watering your lawn or garden, only water those areas which are required to be. Surviving A Water Crisis in droughts won't be so hard this way.
- Water your lawn or garden at night, this is so because, during night, less evaporation of water occurs due to the absence of sunlight. Also more time is provided for the water to soak during night.
- You should water deeply your lawn or garden but less often. Watering deeply help plants to grow deeper roots, and also this causes plants to need water less frequently. Although the roots of grass don't grow deep as compared to other plants, but still you can practice watering deeply so that water is required less frequently by the grass.
- You can use micro sprinklers or drip irrigation to water deeply with a minimum consumption of water. There are various other systems which can be used for water deeply including, soaker hose, drip tape or hoses with emitters. These systems are also immune to loss of water due to evaporation like that in overhead irrigation systems. Also these systems are capable of keeping plant foliage dry which helps in lessen disease. Sometimes acid is added to the water in these systems which helps in keeping calcium or iron from plugging the tiny emitters.
Appropriate growth of grass:To save water in your lawn, don't crop your lawn too short. You can attain this by raising the height of your mower blade.
- If you are living in area of less rainfall then you should avoid growing grass and instead you should grow plants which requires less water for their growth.
- You should grow less grass on your lawn because grass requires much more water than many other plants. Also you can reduce your lawn size or plant something else besides your lawn to reduce water consumption.
Appropriate planting of trees and plants:To prevent evaporation of water you can plant small trees under big trees. This will also provide shade to your plants. Also you can grow plants under the shades of the tress this will also help in preventing evaporation of water and as a result less water is required by the plants.
- Always know how much water is required by the plants for their efficient growth and don't water them more than their required limit.
- Plants which have same water requirement should be grown together. This technique of growing plants having approximately same water use is termed as "hydro-zoning".
- Plants species which are native to the area will be adapted to the local water supplies and as a result requires less water for their growth.
- You can also consult your local nurseries to take advice for growing plants.
- You can also dig the low areas of your plants so that the watering of only root zones is done. There is no need to water the bare areas around the plants.
Conservation of virtual water:Virtual water is that water which is indirectly used to produce eatables which are consumed by human beings. Conservation of virtual water is as important as conserving water.
There are various things which uses less amount of virtual water for their production.
You should eat proteins that saves water. Beef is most costly protein source while goat and chicken are less costly.
All of the beverages- wine, soda, juice, tea etc. uses water for their production. So save water drink beer ;)
Processed food also uses a lot of water. So you should cut down the amount of consumption of processed foods.
Know your virtual water use:
You should go through various websites using internet to explore your use of virtual water.
You can save water by following the aforementioned steps. You need not to follow all the above mentioned procedures to save water. Adopt those which are convenient and drop the ones which you find impractical for you.
Water is a very essential commodity to all of the life on other and saving water is therefore morally essential. You can save a lot of life by making small changes in your daily dealings with water.
Save water save life is one of my best save water slogans ;)