Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail
1. Check for leaks. Turn off all taps and make sure that the toilet cistern is not filling up after flushing. Then check if your meter is still running.
If it is, try to ascertain what is leaking, or call a plumber.
2. Fix all leaks. Most importantly, check whether your taps are dripping; whether your toilet is leaking into the bowl (place a piece of toilet paper against the back inside of the bowl, and see if it gets wet); whether your hoses are leaking, or whether your hot-water cylinder pressure release is overflowing.
A leaking toilet, for example, can waste thousands of litres per day!
3. Check the accuracy of your meter. After checking that there are no leaks, stop all water use. Fill up a bucket of a known volume, and see whether this amount is reflected in what your meter says has been used.
If the meter is inaccurate, consult the local authority for advice.
4. Try to understand how and where you are using your water. This is particularly important for the watering of the garden. You have to know what you are doing before you can do something about it.
Try to do a “water audit” with your family, to see who is using how much water for what purpose.
5. For those with gardens that need to be watered, this is likely to be the area where you can make the biggest savings.
The first consideration should be to try to focus on indigenous and non-water-consumptive alien plants (but not invasive alien plants), and to group these plants according to their water needs, and to mulch around them. Consult a registered nursery for advice.
6. The second consideration is to water less frequently, and to make sure that water gets to the roots of the plants when you do water. Experiment by seeing that the soil is wet if you stick your finger into the soil.
Most people over-water, wasting about 30l per minute of over-watering. That’s wasting more water per minute than our government’s target of getting 25l of safe water per day to every South African.
7. Do not water between 10am and 3pm, or when it is very windy. You can lose up to 90 percent of water to evaporation when watering in the middle of a hot, windy day. It is also better to water with a hand-held hose than a sprinkler (and especially automatic sprinklers), where practical.
8. Clear invasive alien plants on your property. Contact the Working for Water programme or Ukuvuka Campaign for advice.
This is a particularly obnoxious waste of water, for the invasives will spread and waste water far beyond your property, and also have other impacts such as fire risks, erosion and the loss of biological diversity. Call 0800 005 376.
9. Do not over-fill or excessively back-wash your swimming pool, if you have one. Take a pipe from your gutter to use water from your roof to fill the pool. (Tie pantyhose to the end of the pipe to prevent muck going into the pool.)
10. Roof water can also be profitably stored in tanks, for watering gardens. Another option is to use “grey water” – used water from baths, washing machines and other safe sources – to water your garden and even to flush your toilet.
Consult your plumber about these. Those who are conscientious about the need to conserve water can also simply use a bucket to take used water from the bath to water plants, or flush the loo.
11. When buying appliances, choose those that conserve water and electricity. They can save you a considerable amount of money in the long-term. This applies to washing machines and dish-washers, in particular.
It also makes a lot of sense to look at hot-water cylinders that can work with solar panels. (Saving energy saves water – and vice versa.)
12. Shower rather than bath as a norm. If you prefer to bath, share the water, or don’t make it as full. (An average full bath will use about 120l of water.)
13. Use low-flow showerheads. You can get a very good shower for a little as 5l per minute, compared to the norm of about 20 litres per minute. You get just as wet, and just as clean.
14. Tap aerators can be screwed on to the end of your taps. You use far less water, but the aerated flow gives the sense of using just as much water as when using more wasteful fittings. (Always buy South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)-approved fittings – it’s a guarantee of quality and reliability.)
15. Toilets are major water-users, averaging 9 -11l per flush. Dual-flush toilets are the best option, and can be easily retrofitted. There are other options (eg, multiple-volume flushing) that your plumber might recommend.
Putting a brick in the cistern does not save nearly as much water. If you do so, make sure it is in a plastic bag to avoid bits breaking off and lodging under the washer and causing leaks.
16. A very clever option is a “toilet lid sink” – clean water that recharges the cistern is first passed through a basin on top of the cistern, and that water is used to wash one’s hands.
Don’t sacrifice your health in saving water – always wash your hands after going to the toilet. (But it is not necessarily unhealthy if you do not flush every time after urinating)
17. Use a plug in the basin when washing dishes. Don’t wash dishes, or brush your teeth or shave with the tap running.
18. Fill up the kettle to the level you actually need when boiling water, and similarly when using water in cooking.
19. Use a bucket rather than a hose if you wash your car. If you must use a hose, use a sprayer that can be turned off in-between spraying the car. And please don’t wash down paved surfaces. They don’t grow.
20. Read your meter to measure your water use on a regular basis. Try doing so every day at the same time for a week, and tell all of the water-users in your household about how you are all doing. Competitions can be fun and effective.
Set family targets, and work out how much that could save you in terms of money – and then use the savings for some treat.
21. Finally, when coming-of-age in your use of water, be careful about what you dispose of in water and down drains. The costs and concerns are also about the quality of our water.
Oils, poisons and other materials can really pollute our water.
Source – iol news