Save Money & The Environment By Saving Water
By Candice Aiken.
Looking back on my childhood, I have fond memories of running around in the sprinklers on our luscious green lawn and throwing myself down a slippery slide while the hose was pouring out water. In the hot Perth summers when the temperature reached up to 40 – 45 degrees Celsius, water played a big part in our weekend activities. Then one day my dad, who has always had a keen interest permaculture and sustainability, decided to rip up our beautiful green lawn and replace it with wood chips and native plants. So, along with the grass went having fun with water. For years I could not understand his logic as I’d grown up thinking there was an endless supply of this cool, clear liquid. Why on earth would he take away the soft supple lawn to replace it with something that looked so unkempt, so imperfect, so… natural!?
Then the time came a few years ago for me to build my own house. As with most kids, I was adamant not to follow in my parent’s footsteps, not because I didn’t agree with his reasoning for choosing native plants, but for the sheer fact that I wanted to do the absolute opposite. I made sure I put in the biggest, most lush, green lawn and garden beds full of contemporary glossy plants not at all native to WA. Whenever a plant died because it could not survive our hot summers and water restrictions, I’d foolishly replace it with the same variety. Then I would cringe when the water bills came through. Regardless, I continued to pour water on this unsustainable yard for the sake of having the so-called “perfect garden”.
This was only until recently when my husband and I spent a long weekend in Dunsborough at a house where the water supply came entirely from the rainwater tank. There were notes strategically placed around the house reminding us to be conscious of water usage as there was a limited supply. For the 5 days we were there, I realised how much water I had been wasting at home and I was appalled. I now appreciate how precious this liquid really is and have made some major changes in my thoughts and behaviours towards water as a result.
I want to share some simple water-saving tips with you targeting each room of the house. These tips will not only save the environment but will save you money on your bills!
- In the Laundry: wash only when you have a full load (just make sure you have enough underwear to get you through the week ). By reducing your washing by 1 load a week, you can save up to 120 litres of water. Not only that, but you will save on electricity too.
- In the bathroom: install an efficient water-saving shower head. The water corporation is offering a free swap on up to two water guzzling showerheads for water-saving alternatives: http://www.watercorporation.com.au/S/showerhead_swap.cfm. According to the water corporation, over 22% of household water is from the shower!
- In the kitchen: if it’s time for an upgrade on your dishwasher, invest in one with a 4.5 star rating which has been designed with water-saving features in mind to do the hard work for you. For those patient enough to hand wash dishes, I take my hat off to you. Consider reusing water you have captured from other parts of the house to fill the sink.
- In the garden: check out your local council website or contact the water corporation for advice on plants native to WA and in particular to your suburb. Then use native plants in garden beds and consider ground cover instead of some or even all of your lawn. According to the water corporation, over 40% of household water is used on your garden!
- For the whole house: install a greywater system to irrigate your garden. For most of us, it may not be as cost effective if living in an established home but for those looking at building, now is the perfect time. I am personally yet to install this system, but in order to save water, my husband and I use a bucket to catch water from the shower as we are heating it up. This can save up to 10 litres per day!* We are also conscious of capturing water when washing fruit and vegies for our juices to reuse on the vegetable garden.
*based on 2 showers per day, with the hot water system located over 15 metres away from the bathroom.
For more water saving tips, check out: www.watercorporation.com.au.
Image Credit: VersusTheSea
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