It doesn’t take much to be wa­ter smart

A re­duced wa­ter sup­ply can have a big im­pact on your com­mu­nity,

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER - writes Erin Ri­ley.

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 Neigh­ 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.

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