World Water Day 2022: Water saving tips at home
World Water Day takes has taken place annually on March 22 since 1993. It celebrates water and raises awareness of the two billion people currently living without access to safe water. Our Environment Committee has put together some tips on how to save water at home. You can learn more about World Water Day by clicking here.
By Rhys Coulter
Clean potable water is an essential resource that has countless applications and can easily be taken for granted. Excessive use of water can put a strain on our communities and the environment, so it is important to keep mindful of our individual and family household consumption of water. From washing the dishes to washing the car, here are some ways that you can easily save more water at home.
It may be hard to believe, but the modern dishwasher is more efficient than washing dishes by hand. The average sink uses around nine (9) litres of water every minute, whereas a fully-loaded dishwasher can use 18 litres per cycle (14 litres for Energy Star appliances). Unless you can wash all of your dishes in 2 minutes or less (and do a good job), a dishwasher is the more environmentally-friendly option.
If you do not have access to a dishwasher, you can still reduce your water usage while handwashing dishes. Instead of filling the sink, fill a large pot with hot soapy water and plug the sink. As you rinse with the tap, the rinse water will collect in the sink which can be used for preliminary rinsing before using the tap, cutting down on water consumption.
Running the Sink
An easy way to reduce water usage is to limit the time the sink is running. It is easy to get lost in the task at hand while the tap is running, which will increase the amount of water lost to waste. Being mindful to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, washing your face, handwashing dishes, etc. will ensure most of the water is used for a purpose.
Showers vs Baths
Showers typically use less water than having a bath, but the length of the shower can easily tip the scales. Most tubs can be filled with about 114-159 litres of water, while a common showerhead uses about 11.5 litres per minute. That means showering for 10 minutes is the same as filling the bathtub with about 114 litres. While visiting Australia, I was told that common practice in the shower is to turn the water off while you soap yourself! Imagine that.
You can reduce water usage in the shower by using a low-flow showerhead, which on average uses nine (9) litres per minute, meaning that it would take 12.5 minutes to fill the bathtub with 114 litres. Setting a timer for your shower will make it easier to keep track of your water usage (setting a warning timer is also a good idea).
Contrary to popular belief, the automated car wash uses less water than washing your car by hand. Car washes use machines that optimize the washing process by maximizing efficiency while minimizing the amount of water required for each wash. A garden hose will deliver water at high pressure and volume, which makes excessive usage easy, especially if kept running. However, simply washing your car less often is the best way to save water, particularly during the hotter times of the year.