How much water do you think you use? Did you know the average Canadian thinks they use 132 litres per day, when they actually use 329 litres of water per day?
Water Conservation is increasingly important in today’s world, and with World Water Day coming up next week, we’d shed some light on water usage around the home, and how to reduce your consumption.
One of the highest areas of water usage in our homes occurs in the bathroom, which accounts for a whopping 65 percent of our water consumption. Next up is laundry at 20 percent, 10 percent in the kitchen (including drinking water), and 5 percent for cleaning. Outside, water consumption can increase up to 50% in the summer months when people are watering their lawns and gardens.
All this being said, it’s a myth that being water wise means a drastic change in lifestyle. Small changes in how you use water in and around your home can lead to big savings for you and the environment. Read on for some easy ways to reduce consumption in your home.
Water Efficient Fixtures
One easy way to conserve water is to install water-efficient fixtures. If you have a new Broadview home, then you can already check this item off your list. We install high-efficiency toilets, low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators and high-efficiency appliances in all our homes.
But if you have an older home, then you’ll want to check for leaks and possibly retrofit older fixtures. A leaky toilet can waste 2,500 liters a month, so a quick check every six months can save you up to $100/year. It also often pays to upgrade older toilets with water efficient models, install aerators on all bathroom skink faucets and consider replacing showerheads with low-flow models.
When it comes time to replace old appliances, consider water saving and high-efficiency ones. A new low water dishwasher will clean your dishes and save water and electricity. If you’re replacing your washing machine, then consider a front-load washer. They use 35 to 50 percent less water and 30 percent less energy. Since laundry accounts for 20 percent of indoor water usage, your savings will quickly add up.
How Your Family Can Be Water Wise at Home
Here are some quick and easy ways for everyone in your family to consume less water:
- Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge, instead of running the tap water until it has cooled.
- Only run your dishwasher when you have a full load, or if you need to run it, then use a shorter or small load cycle.
- Scrape food off dishes instead of rinsing.
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing.
- Quickly rinse fruits and vegetables, or collect the water you use and reuse it to water houseplants.
- Instead of continuously running water in the bathroom, turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush or fill the sink when shaving. This alone can save 10 to 20 litres of water each time.
- Take shorter showers, and only fill the tub half way when bathing young children.
- Wash full loads of laundry, or if you need to run it, then set the water-level for a smaller load.
- Regularly check for and repair any leaks.
How to Be Water Wise Outside
Since water usage spikes in summer, here are some ways to keep your outside plants healthy while also using less water.
Choose the right plants for your zone and water type. Start at the planning stage of landscaping. By choosing plants that suit your soil type and conditions, you will greatly reduce the amount of water that they need. In Calgary, this means choosing plants that are Zone 4a, and then planting them around your house according to soil conditions and whether they require a sun or shade exposure.
Note: Calgary recently changed from Zone 3b to Zone 4a in 2016.
Water at the right time. Up to 30 percent of water can be lost to evaporation in the heat of the day. It’s best to water in the evening and early morning on days with little to no wind. Watering for shorter periods like 15 minutes also lets soil absorb more and reduce any runoff.
Sprinkler systems. Adjust your sprinkler head to water your plants, and not your sidewalk, driveway, patio or home. This includes correcting for obstructions that prevent sprinklers from distributing water evenly throughout your lawn. If you have a sprinkler system, then also be sure to check the pressure and inspect for leaks on a regular basis.
Choosing an irrigation system. There are plenty of options for sprinkler systems, so choose one with “smart” technology that has climate or soil moisture sensor-based controllers, which adjusts your schedule depending on the conditions.
Using less water means that less water goes down the drain, and that can save you in other ways too. When you use water efficiently, you usually also save energy, use less hot water, and also save money on your electric and water bills. And so, it pays to be water wise.