Only a tiny percentage of the water we use in our homes is for drinking. In fact, while we only use a few litres a day for drinking and cooking, a typical Australian household can get through more than a thousand litres of water a day. Half of that is used in the garden, mainly to water lawns and exotic plants that are not suited to Australia’s hot and drought-prone climate. Inside your home, the main water consuming items are the shower, the washing machine, toilets and the dishwasher.
Of course, we’re always going to need some water, but by following these ten simple steps you should be able to reduce water use in your home and garden to about a quarter of a typical family.
1. Install a rainwater tank
Install a rainwater tank and have it plumbed in to your toilets and washing machine as well as connected to your garden taps. Make sure the tank is large enough so it doesn’t keep running out. For a typical suburban home, a 10,000 litre tank should rarely run out of water.
2. Create a waterwise garden
It’s relatively simple to create a garden that needs little or no watering. Replace some or all of your garden lawn with mulch, native plants and other drought resistant plants. If you want to retain a lawn, replace the turf with a drought-resistant grass that need little or no water. Garden centres or landscapers can advise you on suitable types of grass.
3. Cover your swimming pool
A swimming pool can lose 30,000 litres a year through evaporation – a pool cover will greatly reduce this loss.
4. Fit a water-saving showerhead
Showers use about a third of water inside the typical home. Water-saving shower heads are inexpensive, can be fitted in a couple of minutes and will halve the amount of water you use to shower.
5. Take shorter showers
Try also reducing your shower time for even greater water savings. Get a two-minute shower timer and see if you can keep your shower within the two minutes.
6. Make sure your toilet is dual flush
Replace single-flush toilets with dual-flush ones. A cheaper way to make older single flush toilets water efficient is to buy a low-cost cistern converter, or alternatively put a full plastic bottle of water inside your cistern, to reduce the amount of water it uses to flush. If you want to take things even further, replace your toilet with a dry composting toilet – they use no water at all!
7. Buy a water-efficient dishwasher
A modern water-efficient dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. But don’t rinse plates before putting them into the dishwasher – scrape food scraps off instead. Try to only run full loads, and use the economy setting if there is one. Choose a model with a high water star rating when buying a dishwasher.
8. Buy a water-efficient washing machine
Again, look for a model with a high water star rating when buying a laundry machine. Only run full loads.
9. Fit tap aerators
Costing a few dollars each, tap aerators work like water-saving showerheads by mixing air with the water to reduce the volume of water coming out of the tap. They can more than halve water use from kitchen and bathroom taps. For greater water savings, get into the habit of turning off the tap while cleaning your teeth, and putting the plug in the sink if you are washing up by hand, washing your hands or peeling vegetables.
10. Fix leaks
A single dripping tap can waste up to 12,000 litres of water a year, so fix any dripping taps or leaking pipes as soon as possible.
**This article originally published here: http://www.homeimprovementpages.com.au/article/top_ten_water_saving_tips