It doesn’t take much to be water smart
A reduced water supply can have a big impact on your community, writes
The year 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record in New Zealand, which might be good for our tans but not so good for our water supplies. Just because New Zealand is surrounded by water, doesn’t mean it’s a resource that will never run out.
Increasingly towns and cities all over the country are facing water shortages, and with the heat of summer on us many regions might be feeling the pinch already.
So why is it so important to work on water awareness this summer? Not only will water conservation help minimise the impact of reduced water supply on your local community, it will also save you plenty of water and money in the process.
World Vision says the average person needs about 50 litres of water every day to satisfy their basic needs. In a developing nation like Niger, the average person uses just 10 litres of water. In New Zealand, the average person uses more than 200. More than 70 per cent of our water usage is in the bathroom, while 20 per cent is used to wash clothes.
Fortunately it doesn’t take much to have a bit impact – both on your bills and your community’s water supplies. Fix leaky pipes and taps. Use waterefficient appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. Shorten your showers. And turn off the tap when brushing your teeth to save 10 litres of water every minute!
A good hard shower might be the best feeling at the end of a long day, but it’s not water conservation-friendly. Switching to water-efficient taps and showerheads or installing water restrictors will save a lot of water, minimise your bills and reduce condensation in your home at the same time.
Our gardens are the first to suffer when water restrictions come into play. If you live in a drought-prone area, don’t plant anything that needs lots of water. Use water-retaining crystals in pots and baskets to reduce the need to water. Water your plants in the morning or evening when it’s cooler, less windy and less prone to evaporation.
Depending on where you live, water recycling could be a great option. If you’re on the town water supply, think about installing a tank to catch rainwater, then use it to water the garden – even flush the toilet or do your laundry. Much of our 200 litres a day is washed straight down the drain in the form of greywater.
With the right technology, water from kitchen sinks, dishwashers, laundry tubs, washing machines, showers, baths and basins (not toilets for obvious reasons) can be reused on the garden or to flush the toilet. Check to see what your council allows rainwater and greywater to be used for in your area though; some regions have strict rules.
If you’re looking for a way to positively impact your whole community, encourage your neighbours to save water this summer on Neighbourly.co.nz. Share your own tips on how to reduce water usage, post regular water reduction reminders and ask your council to get involved to really see a difference.
Fix leaking taps to help save water.