Simple steps to save water
BECAUSE of the drought this summer, water tables have dropped, but we can all do more to conserve water at home. Small steps make a big impact on your water bill and usage. Water awareness is the first step toward conservation, and minor adjustments to our daily habits can significantly reduce water consumption.
The heat wave is part of a long term warming trend, which scientists say is being driven by human carbon emissions. According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the southern part of Africa has been warming at 1.5 times the world average. This has been exacerbated by El Niño, a phenomenon which warms the Pacific and causes drought in the southern hemisphere. For South Africa, it has meant a second year of little rainfall.
Here are four ways to save water in the home.
Mind faucet use: How often do you leave the sink water running while you brush your teeth? Basic awareness of this wasteful habit helps curb water usage in many households. Shorten showers and teeth brushing, while staying away from bathing. Turn the tap off while lathering and brushing.
Update appliances: Newer washing machines, such as front-loaders, use much less water than older models.
Repair leaks: A running toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day. Pipes, joints, faucets and irrigation systems also can leak. Fix faults in plumbing throughout your property. A leaking tap can waste thousands of litres of water each year.
Replace your toilet: Water-efficient toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush. Toilets older than 1992 use more. And, it’s OK to flush less often. Put a brick in your toilet and leave it to mellow. Toilets use more water than is necessary, and flushing can be unnecessary. A brick will substantially reduce water use.
Landscape thoughtfully: Water only what your plants need and water during cool, windless hours. Choose plants that require less water. Don’t use any water outside during daylight hours. The heat means this evaporates anyway so does little good for plants. Move towards an indigenous, drought-resistant garden. Indigenous trees are hardier than their imported counterparts and use much less water. They can also survive long periods of drought.
Don’t refill the swimming pool. These are a luxury and a waste of water when entire communities are faced with trying to live without water. Savings in one place mean people get water elsewhere.