Good water conservation habits aren't just for the dry summer months, but all year round. Invercargill City Council recently put out some excellent water conservation tips, which we'd like to share for householders everywhere.
Water wise in the kitchen...
- When peeling vegetables or washing dishes, don't leave the water running. Put the plug in the sink and then run the water.
- Make sure your dishwasher is full before you run it, as dishwashers use a considerable amount of water. Also, don't rinse your dishes first—just scrape them and let the dishwasher do the cleaning.
- Check that all taps in your house are turned off properly.
- Have a water jug or bottle in your fridge instead of running the tap cold to get a cool drink of water.
- Don't use running water to defrost your food. Allow it to defrost overnight in the refrigerator or use your microwave to defrost food straight from the freezer.
- When cooking, use a pressure cooker, microwave or steamer to save water. Simmer rather than boil your food and use tight lids to prevent evaporation.
- Water used to boil food can be re-used in soups or casseroles, or else cooled down and used to water your garden.
- Buying a new dishwasher? Make sure you purchase a dishwasher with at least an AAA water conservation rating.
- Don't overdo it with dishwashing detergent when washing dishes by hand, to reduce the amount of rinse water required.
Water wise in the garden...
- Water your garden late in the evening or early in the morning.
- Check the weather forecast before you water your garden. Mother Nature may take care of your garden watering needs for you.
- Use a trigger hose to water the garden, not a sprinkler.
- Only water plants that need water and aim for the roots, not the leaves.
- Don't give plants more water than they need.
- If you have to wash your car, wash it on the lawn and your lawn gets watered as well. Also, use a bucket and brush to wash the car and only use the hose for rinsing.
- Use compost on your garden. This will trap moisture in your garden, while providing essential nutrients and, as an added bonus, it will prevent weeds from growing.
- Avoid watering the garden when it's windy, as a large portion of the water will evaporate or go where you don't need it.
- Collect rainwater and use it to water your garden.
- Use recycled water (also known as greywater) that you have collected in your home to water your garden.
- Don't cut the lawns too short. A lawn with longer grass holds water and requires less irrigation.
- Use a broom to sweep a pathway rather than hosing it down with water.
- Plant drought-resistant species in your garden, like natives, which require less water than the more exotic plants.
Water wise in the bathroom...
- Don't leave the water running, especially when you are brushing your teeth or shaving. You can also put the plug in the sink while you are washing your hands, and turn the shower off while you are shampooing your hair.
- Don't use the toilet for disposing of things it was not meant for, such as tissues or anything else that could go in the rubbish bin.
- Check your toilet for leaks. Get your plumber to fix corroding fixtures or invest in a new, more efficient toilet.
- A handy trick to reduce the amount of water per flush in the toilet is to put a small plastic bottle filled with the water in the cistern and make sure it doesn't interfere with the flush mechanism. Do not put a brick in the cistern, as it may damage the cistern or the plumbing.
- If you are building or renovating, consider installing a dual-flush toilet, a low-flow shower head and other water-saving devices.
Water wise in the laundry...
- Wait until you have a full load before running the washing machine.
- Select the correct water level setting on your washing machine to match the size of your load.
- Put the plug in the sink and then run the water when you are hand washing garments. The rinse water could be re-used later on your garden.
Leaky taps and pipes...
- If you have a leaking pipe and/or dripping tap, call your plumber and get it fixed. The most common cause of a leaky tap is a worn washer. If you are not sure about how to replace a tap washer, give your plumber a call.
- As soon as you have detected a burst pipe, shut the water off immediately. Your toby valve should be located near your front boundary, under a small metal or plastic cover. If you need help to locate your toby, contact your council.
- If you notice a leak, burst pipe or water problem in your street, contact your council.