Water scarcity is a struggle for many communities worldwide, while for others it’s a completely abstract concept. Approximately 70% of the world is covered by water, however, the majority is found in our oceans and is saline. Freshwater accounts for 2.5% of the world’s water supply and of that only 1% is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields (National Geographic, 2015). Freshwater is a natural resource and vital resource for all living organisms. It takes a lot of energy to treat, distribute, and manage water and wastewater. So how can we conserve it? Here are 5 easy ways to conserve water around your household:
- Water your lawn appropriately
- Our lawns are only required to be watered once per week and only need about an inch of water to remain healthy. To judge your water use, set an empty container next to each sprinkler system and time how long it takes to fill them up. This is how long you should run your sprinklers when you’re watering your lawn. To minimize evaporation losses remember to always avoid watering your lawn and plants during hot periods of the day. Watering during the early in the morning or late evening will decrease water losses (City of Saskatoon, 2017).
- Wash your vehicle at the car wash
- Believe it or not, washing your car at home often uses greater amounts of water than at a local car wash. In addition, home washing increases the potential for non-biodegradable soap, automotive oil, and other harmful chemicals to leach into our waterways through storm drains. Using a hose to wash your car for 10 minutes can consume over 300 litres. Car washes have engineered designs that capture and dispose of run-off properly. If you choose to wash your car at home, think responsibly and purchase a nozzle to stop the flow from the hose between rinses (City of Saskatoon, 2017).
- Capture rainwater for yard care
- Rainwater contains minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to plants, so why not collect it using a rain barrel and use it for your lawn and yard maintenance? Does your home have a sump pump? Create a system at your home to automatically transport that unused water directly into your rain barrel. Using rain barrels can not only lower your water bills, but they are beneficial to the environment because they divert water away from sewer systems (City of Saskatoon, 2017).
- Keep household leaks under control
- Stay on top of leaks in your house. Periodically check your faucets, shower heads, and outdoor taps for leaks. Think your toilet may be leaking? Add a few drops of food colouring in the tank and see if the colour leaks into the bowl within half an hour. Slow leaks may not seem to be a big issue, however, over time your pockets will notice a big difference because fixing them can reduce your water bill by up to 10% annually (City of Saskatoon, 2017).
- Install water-saving fixtures
- If those leaks and cannot be fixed, look into replacing old fixtures with water-saving alternatives. Purchase low-flow shower heads and low flush toilets. These water-saving fixtures can greatly reduce your daily water consumption. For example, switching from an 18 litre per flush toilet to a 6 litre per flush toilet can reduce your yearly use by about 30% (City of Saskatoon, 2017).