It doesn’t take much to be wa­ter smart

South Waikato News - - Backyard Banter -

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.

FAIRFAX NZ

Fix leak­ing taps to help save wa­ter.

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