Water is the source of life. It’s sustaining our ecosystems and regulating our climate. However, it’s becoming a more and more limited resource for an increasing number of people. 97.5 per cent of the world’s water is locked in seas and oceans, too salty for human use. And most of the remaining 2.5 per cent is in the ice caps. So we humans depend on the tiny bit available as freshwater – an essential natural resource for life.
Climate change is one of the biggest drivers of water shortages and is expected to put even more pressure on depleting water supplies. A study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that droughts currently drive around 9 billion euros in annual economic losses across the European Union and the UK and they could rise by one third by the end of the century, even if warming is limited to 1.5 C and countries implement adaptation measures.
It is our common responsibility to use it wisely and save it for the sake of our Planet. At the same time sparing water can also help you to save on utility bills. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Start in the kitchen
First of all, use your dishwasher if you can as it uses less water than washing your dishes by hand. A standard dishwasher uses around 9.5 litres of water per wash, while hand-washing generally uses up to 60 litres. When you add up the numbers, switching from hand-washing to dishwashing can save you up to 18,000 litres of water per year. Also, make sure it’s a full load before running it.
Save up your laundry
Did you know that 15-20 per cent of water used in the home is in the laundry? In addition to water, washing machines also use large amounts of energy and detergents. As a golden rule, wash with a full load and you will save 10 litres of water each wash. In case your machine is not full, select the program to reduce the water level to the size of the load. If you have the option, choose a front loader washing machine as they use less water than top loaders, up to 70 per cent less in some cases or 36,000 litres per year for a typical household.
Shower off instead of bathing
Every minute you spend in a shower uses up to 17 litres of water. However, you can set a timer on your phone to keep your showers short. Switching to an efficient showerhead will also allow you to consume less water and cut your bills.
Don’t let your water consumption run out of control
As we know small things add up. Don’t keep the water running unnecessarily. For instance, you can save six litres of water a minute by turning off your tap while you brush your teeth. If you fix leaky taps in time you can avoid sending 60 litres of water going straight down the drain every week.
Time to some gardening
In the garden, water your lawn at dawn or after sundown to reduce water loss due to higher evaporation, even better if you do it with water collected from your roof. Setting a timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop can be a good idea here as well. Last but not least make sure you shut off your automatic watering system in case it is raining.
Share these water conservation tips with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to supports collective action and save our water supplies.