Tips for saving water in the home

Even though 71 percent of Earth is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is actually drinkable. That means this small amount of this life-giving liquid needs to be spread out among the planet’s more than seven billion humans and animals. That’s not a lot of H20 to go around and it’s one of our most precious resources. We need to do everything we can to preserve the liquid in order to protect our own survival.

There are headlines and warnings plastered all over the media and marketing outlets stating that we, as humans, need to save water. But the rules on how to actually save water aren’t always clearly defined. We could all use and drink less, but that’s not a viable option and could be detrimental to our health.

You’d think the entire water cycle would allow us to drink the water that we waste, but that isn’t always the case. It’s a little more complex than that. Sure, there are desalination and water assessment options. It’s important that you ensure there’s no leak in your home. You could be wasting millions of litres of waters without having any idea. To check this, turn off all the taps inside and outside your house. Make a note of the reading on your water meter and wait 15 minutes. Then go back to your water meter and check the reading again. If the meter has recorded water use during the test you might just have a leak and need to call in the professionals.

If you are serious about saving water, here are a few ways you can do so.

Don’t stew in your own juices

That’s a bit of a vulgar way of saying don’t bath, but after all, you are sitting in your own warm soup. That aside, baths can use a tremendous amount of water, especially if you’re the type of person to fill them to the brim and pour in as much bubble bath as possible. This can lead to you using far more water to clean yourself than is actually needed. Instead, have a short shower installed.

Don’t contemplate life while in the shower

The shower is a great place to not only think about life and mull over all of the highs and lows of existence, but also belt out some fantastic melodies. The problem is that most people will stand under the warm water with all the thoughts of the world, while litre upon litre of it pours over them and down the drain. In other words, rather try to overcome your existential crisis or hit those high notes somewhere else.

As much as the shower is better than having a bath, it’s also a slippery slope when it comes to the amount of water you use. During droughts, it’s usually advised to only clean when necessary and to have the maximum of a two-minute shower. That might not be a lot of time – especially when the water can take a while to heat up – but you’ll at least be able to lather yourself in soap and wash it all off.

If you really need to shave or wash your hair, consider using a bucket of water instead. That way you’re not wasting a lot of water running down the drain and use exactly the amount that you need.

Water isn’t a status symbol

For quite some time now, stocking up on bottled water has been a status symbol. Do you have guests? Offer them a bottle of water. What happens when they leave and don’t finish said water? Well, we just throw it away like yesterday (or today’s) garbage. This level of water wastage isn’t limited to bottles, but the washing of cars and filling up splash pools.

Who doesn’t want a nice clean and shiny car? Is having a clean car really worth losing access to clean and drinkable water? And in places where there are droughts, such as the Western Cape, if you have a clean car it tells other drivers that you just don’t care about anyone else but yourself.

Your plants will be okay

Plants have been on Earth for around 700 million years, while fungi evolved even further back at 1 300 million years ago. And though they may look fragile and their flowers are easy to pick, plants are incredibly resilient. After all, they’ve outlived many species of animal over the years. If you don’t water your plants, they’ll more than likely be okay.

There’s nothing better than a fresh, green garden to marvel at once the morning dew has settled. It’s the perfect setting for enjoying a cup of coffee or chatting with a loved one. Thing is, nothing lasts forever, and some plants just won’t survive during a drought. That prize-winning rose of yours might just die and wither away, but the reality is that you have drinkable water in order to survive and that is more important. If you have to water your plants then follow the rules set out by the council, which often entails only watering plants for a certain amount of time at night and by using a watering can. And if you don’t water your plants, they may just be absolutely fine. After all, there is all that morning dew for them to enjoy.