Although Gauteng isn’t in a serious water crisis this year, all of us can be a little bit more diligent with saving water. With other parts of South Africa being very dry, we should respect our water sources and appreciate our clean drinking water. Here are some water saving tips you can use around your house this summer:
Don’t leave the tap running
While you are brushing your teeth or washing your hands, close the tap instead of letting it run. A running tap releases an average of 20-30 litres of water per minute, so if you’re brushing your teeth for two minutes while you leave the tap running, you’re wasting an average of 50 litres of water per person. Just wet your toothbrush and close the tap while you’re brushing. Same goes for washing your hands – wet your hands with some soap and close the tap while scrubbing.
This also applies to the kitchen. Rather wash your fruit and veggies in a bowl than under a running tap. Don’t defrost frozen meat under a running tap, rather defrost it by leaving it in the fridge overnight or defrosting it in the microwave just before cooking it.
Shower or bath?
How much water do you think a bathtub holds? A full bathtub uses an astonishing average of 150-200 litres of water. The average showerhead releases about 22 litres of water per minute. This means that if you’re showering for 10 minutes, you’re not saving water. Aim to shower only about 2-5 minutes in order to save water, or don’t fill your bathtub more than ankle-depth. You can also place a bucket in the shower with you to catch some of the water while you’re not rinsing yourself and use it to flush the toilet or water the garden.
The average toilet uses about 9-12 litres of water per flush. Consider each use of the toilet before just letting the toilet flush fully. If you have a toilet with a handle you can lift, let the toilet flush until all the waste is washed away and lift the handle. Modern toilets have a dual-flush system which allows for a short flush or a long flush. Alternatively, you can install a multi-flush system which lets the toilet flush until you release. You can also consider using a plastic bottle or two to fill some space in the water tank. Place a few pebbles in a water bottle to weigh it down, fill it up with water and close the cap. Place it carefully in the toilet’s water tank, safely away from the working mechanisms.
Use washing machines correctly
Wait for a full load of dishes or clothes before washing them. For the dishwasher – don’t pre-rinse your dishes. You are actually just wasting water and hindering your dishwasher to do its job properly. Dishwashers are designed to save water – hand washing uses more water and energy.
Keeping these water saving tips in mind, you can still let your kids have a little fun: When you have a sprinkler open to water your lawn (late-afternoon to avoid most of the water evaporating), let them run around in the sprinkler water!