It covers 70% of the planet’s surface, falls out of the sky, and makes up more than half of our bodies. But despite its abundance, the conservation of water is one of the most important day-to-day ways to preserve the environment. Plus, there are your water bills to consider! There are two angles from which you can tackle this issue – habits and hardware. Things like choosing the right washing machine or turning off the tap when you brush your teeth can make a big difference!
The simplest way to conserve water (though arguably also the hardest) is by changing your habits of water usage. Start by keeping an eye out for any times when you’re using up water without making use of it. For example, turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, or turn off the shower while you’re using shampoo or shower gel. If you’re hand-washing dishes, don’t rinse them under a running tap, but in a separate tub of clean water. If you’re boiling water for tea or coffee, only use as much water as you need.
Likewise, be careful not to use more water than you need. Instead of pouring a large glass of water, then taking a big gulp of it and forgetting about it, fill up a bottle or pour a small glass from a jug in the fridge. That way, you’ll use all the water you’ve taken, whenever you want it, without wasting it.
Recycling isn’t just for metal and paper – you can also recycle your used water! If you’ve used water for cooking, pour it into a tough plastic tub to cool, and use it to water your houseplants. Alternatively, if you were boiling meat or flavoursome vegetables, you can use the water for soup, or to cook rice in to give it a bit of flavour.
On the other hand, changing your habits is only one side of the battle – if you’re being let down by your equipment, you’re only undoing your hard work! If you’ve got a fairly old shower unit or toilet cistern, it may be worth replacing it with a modern, more water-efficient one. On that note, toilet leaks are not always as obvious as you might think – check for leakage by putting a small amount of food colouring in the cistern (don’t worry, bleach should get rid of any staining from the food colouring).
Also, if you’re thinking of buying new household appliances, check that they’re suited to your needs. Choosing a good washing machine is particularly important – you can find ones that are much more energy efficient nowadays, so you can save energy and water! If you use a garden sprinkler, make sure it’s not leaking, and be careful not to over-use it. A single sprinkler doesn’t take long to thoroughly water a lawn, and over a few hours it can use an astonishing amount of water.
It doesn’t take a big commitment to make a big difference, both to the planet and to your money – you don’t have to let them go down the drain!