Water is a precious commodity in our country, as well as a big household expense for homeowners and families. Saving water isn't just important for our future reserves, it's also one of the most effective ways to save money. Here are 8 easy water saving tips to help you save money.
1. Reuse greywater where you can
Keep a bucket in your shower, under your washing machine water outlet and under your gutter drain spouts, and always wash dishes and rinse food with the plug in the sink. Collect this and any clean cooking water (such as boiling water for eggs) to use elsewhere in the house, e.g. for flushing toilets or watering plants. Reuse the final cycle of your washing machine's rinsing water for your next load of laundry.
2. Rely on your dishwasher
Saving water isn't all sacrifice – dishwashers use less water than hand-washing dishes. Skip rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and only use your dishwasher when it's completely full. Restrict yourself to washing dishes only once or twice a day.
3. Check and repair leaks
A leaking tap can waste up to 10,220 litres of water a year. To check for leaks, take a reading of your water meter, go a few hours without anybody using water, and take a reading again – there shouldn't be a change. If there is, the most common places to look for leaks are your taps, toilet, hosepipe and hot-water cylinder pressure releases.
To check if your toilet is leaking, add some food colouring to the tank. Check back in 30 minutes – if there's a leak, the toilet bowl will have changed colour.
4. Put a bottle in your toilet
Save up to 7,300 litres of water a day by placing a bottle filled with water in the cistern of your toilet. The amount of water you'll save with each flush will be equal to the capacity of the bottle.
5. Create a water-friendly garden
Plant indigenous, water-saving plants in your garden, clearing it of invasive alien plants that waste water. Only water plants before 10am or after 3pm, and never when it's windy. Water less frequently but for longer and directly over the roots to stimulate stronger root systems. This will see your plants through water-tight times. Apply mulch between plants to hold in the moisture and reduce water loss.
6. Be quick in the bathroom
Replace bathtime with showertime and restrict your showers to 2-3 minutes, switching off the water as you lather and turning it on again to rinse. Replace your shower head with a low-flow one. Always turn the tap off when you're shaving or brushing your teeth.
7. Make a game of it
There's nothing like a little competition to turn a chore into something fun. Set a target as a family as to how much water you want to save that month, and brainstorm clever and fun ideas to reach your goal. Plan a reward for the whole family if you meet your goal, like going out for a treat.
8. Speed up the heat
Insulate your hot water pipes by covering them with foam to prevent heat loss. This will help your hot water taps reach the right temperature quicker, saving the water wasted while you wait for it to heat up.