Did you know that only 1% of the world's water is suitable for drinking?
The remaining 97% is locked up in seas and oceans (too salty for human use) and the other 2% is frozen in the ice caps! This means that us humans rely on the tiny 1% of fresh water to sustain our global existence.
But we don't just rely on water for drinking — we wash in it, clean with it, and use it to produce clothing, food and other essential items for human life. Over the past 40 years, global water consumption has tripled and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Population growth, climate change, and unsustainable water usage is putting tremendous pressure on fresh water supplies.
Australians are among the highest consumers of water per capita in the world, so how can we do our bit to limit our water use? Here are 8 easy ways to conserve water around the house and save money on your water and energy bills in the process!
1. Take a Shorter Shower
Perhaps the easiest way to save water at home is to take a shorter shower. Every minute you spend in the shower uses up to 17 litres of water. By shaving a minute off your shower everyday, you can save almost 120 litres of precious H2O a week! Set a timer on your phone or play your favourite song to keep your showers short, sweet and water-saving.
Switching to a water-efficient, three-star-rated shower head will allow you to lather up in less water and cut your water usage by a whopping 40%! With so many options available on the market, remember to check the features and benefits of each one to find the most water-efficient. These shower heads are easy to install and will save you money on your water and energy bills — a worthy investment!
2. Fix Those Leaky Taps
Is that pesky leaking tap in the bathroom keeping you up all night? Well it's also wasting water and costing you money! The best way to handle the dreaded leaky tap is to get it fixed sooner rather than later. A hot tap leaking at the rate of one drip per second wastes approximately 6288 litres of water every year!
Some faucet leaks are easily spotted, but others can take a little more time and effort to locate. The easiest way to identify whether you have a leak is to dry sinks and tubs thoroughly and allow to sit for an hour — if you notice wetness, you've found yourself a leak.
3. Save Up Your Dirty Dishes
Contrary to popular belief, washing dishes by hand uses a lot more water than running the dishwasher. However if you need to wash by hand, don't leave the tap on for rinsing. If you have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and the other with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, stack clean dishes on a dish rack and rinse them with a pan full of hot water.
If you're lucky enough to own a dishwasher, wait until it's full before using it and switch to a water-saving setting. Most modern dishwashers don't even need pre-rinsing! The same method can also be applied to your washing machine. Washing a full machine load of clothes uses less water and energy than 2 half-loads. A win for your wallet and the planet!
4. Reduce Food Waste
Australians throw out approximately $8 billion worth of edible food every year! But, when food goes to waste, so does the water that goes into growing and processing that food. By minimising food waste in our homes, we can actively conserve water and save money on our grocery bills! Whether it's learning how to store food correctly or getting the most out of our leftovers, reducing food waste is easier than you think. Check out our recent blog post for 10 easy ways to reduce food waste.
Another way to conserve water is to eat less water-intensive foods. Did you know that our diets account for roughly half of all the water we use? All food has a water footprint, some much larger than others. Eating less beef — one of the most water-intensive foods — is a great place to start. Substituting animal products for plant-based alternatives is an excellent way to significantly reduce your water footprint!
5. Time Your Gardening
There's something special about getting your hands dirty in the garden. But if you're like us and have more outdoor plants than you can handle, they can use up a lot of water! Stick to watering your garden in the early morning or at the end of the day to stop water from immediately evaporating in sunlight and heat. A clever way to water your plants is to water the soil so that the liquid goes directly to the roots where it's needed.
The Aussie sun can be extremely harsh, particularly during the warm summer months. Instead of watering your lawn, leave a dish filled with water out in the shade for birds to drink from and wash. Thirsty bees and other insects need water too! Fill a dish with water and stones to help them get their H2O fix.
6. Turn off the Taps
Save 6 litres of water a minute by simply turning off the tap while you brush your teeth! It's small, mindless things like this that make all the difference. Another great way to reduce your water usage is to shave your legs outside of the shower. Simply wet your legs with water from the tap, lather on some soap and shave with your leg propped up on the sink or bathtub. Shaving outside of the shower with a Safety Razor is not only a great way to save water but to reduce nasty plastic waste!
7. Reuse and Recycle
There are so many ways to reuse and recycle water around the house. Try washing your fruit and veggies in a bowl and then using the leftover water to nourish your garden. When boiling rice, pasta or veggies, use the boiled water to make a tasty stock for soups, or keep a bucket in the shower to collect and reuse water for your plants.
Another great way to save H2O is to catch rainwater in your garden. Whether it's a bucket under a hole in the guttering or a portable rain barrel from your local hardware store, every drop of water counts! If you have an outdoor pool, keep it covered when not in use. This will stop the water from evaporating and protect your pool from leaves and other unwanted debris.
8. Use a Waterless Car Wash
Wouldn't it be great to drive a clean, shiny car without even pulling out the hose? Well now you can! In recent years, many waterless car washing products have appeared on the market. Not only do they provide an amazing clean, they save so much time and water! Last weekend I was able to wash my car in just under 10 minutes! No messing around with the hose, no wasted water and no drying needed — an absolute game changer!
If you don't have any waterless car wash, try using a bucket of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing (preferably with a spray nozzle) and wash your car on the lawn rather than the driveway to reduce water waste.
Saving water at home doesn't have to be difficult, nor does it require you to dramatically change your lifestyle. With so many easy ways to reduce, reuse and recycle water, everyone can play a role in protecting our most precious natural resource! Even the smallest acts, such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, can bring about positive change. By implementing these 8 simple tips, we can ensure a safe supply of water for future generations!
Know any other clever ways to save water at home? Let us know in the comments or visit our blog for more sustainable living tips. You can follow Lapanda on Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to be notified about new and exciting eco products!