National Water Week 2016
National Water Week takes place from 14 to 22 March in 2016 under the theme ‘Water for people – water by people. Water has no substitute’. In this post, we present a number of tips to show how you can contribute to saving water.
The importance of a secure water supply can never be underestimated, which is why CapeNature and other organisations around the country and the globe work so hard to ensure that nature’s ‘Water factory’ continues to operate correctly. From Mountain Catchment Areas, through to the Ocean, the water on our planet goes on a complex journey, as you can see in the illustration below.
But what about the water that comes into your home? How do we ensure that this most precious of natural resources, currently under even more strain due to the nationwide drought, is used wisely? Well, we’ve gathered a few simple tips together, to help you make a small difference in the home and at the office.
In the Kitchen
- Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water
- Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients
- Use a dishwasher – they typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Just make sure to only run the dishwasher when it’s full. You’ll save on water and electricity
- Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash
In the bathroom and laundry room
- Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 1100 litres a month
- When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 15 litres a minute
- Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 500 litres a month
- Opt for a shower instead of bathing. A full bath tub requires up to 250 litres of water
- If you have to bath, put the plug in before turning on the water and adjust the temperature as the bath fills up to save
- Time your shower to keep it under five minutes. You’ll save up to 3700 litres per month
- Don’t use the toilet as a bin. Drop tissues in your bathroom bin instead of flushing them and save water every time you do
- Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year – put food colouring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving!
- When doing laundry match the water level to the size of the load
- Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and electricity, and helps your clothes retain their colour
- Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles their water, or wash your car on the lawn and you’ll water your grass at the same time
- Wash your car with a bucket, sponge and hose with self-closing nozzle. Using a hose nozzle, or turning off the water at the tap, while you wash your car also helps to save water – up to 350 litres per wash!
- Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. If a pipe bursts, this could save litres of water and prevent damage
- Use a pool cover to help keep your pool clean, reduce chemical use and prevent water loss through evaporation
- Make sure your swimming pools, fountains and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps
- Don’t overfill the pool. Lower water levels will reduce water loss due to splashing
- Leave your lawn clippings on your grass – this cools the ground and holds in moisture
- Aerate your lawn periodically. Poke holes in the ground that will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface
- Let your lawn go dormant during the winter
- Remember to weed regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water
- While fertilisers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertiliser needed
- Water your summer lawns twice a week and your winter lawn once a week, less if it rains
- Water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler
At the office
- Encourage employees to report leaks and problems with plumbing and irrigation equipment
- Have maintenance personnel regularly check your facilities for leaks, drips and other water waste
- Keep restroom fixtures in good repair and fix leaks promptly
- Shut off water to unused areas of your facility to eliminate waste from leaks or unmonitored use
- Wash company vehicles as needed rather than on a schedule. Stretch out the time in between washes
- Be sure your irrigation system is watering only the areas intended, with no water running on to the pavement, streets or down the gutter
Remember, we can all do our part to save water, and in the process you can save on your water bill, meaning everyone benefits!