Few months ago, I signed up to Blog Action Day...

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment

If you haven't guessed from the title, and from that short intro, this post will be about the environment - namely how to save water.

The reason for this topic is simply because Australia is facing severe drought conditions. A quick Google gives us an article from Wikipedia with the different water restriction levels currently in place:

  • Brisbane: Stage 5
  • Adelaide: Stage 3
  • Canberra: Stage 3
  • Melbourne: Stage 3
  • Sydney: Stage 3
  • Hobart: Stage 1
  • Darwin: none
  • Perth: permanent restrictions

As you can see pretty much all the major cities have some form of restriction in place. I'm not quite sure what 'permanent restrictions' for Perth really means, but either way it doesn't sound good.

There are probably millions of ways to save water, some may cost a fair bit (eg. installing a water tank) but others are simple and free! They might even save you money as you'll be using less water and thus pay less for your water rates.

Here are some simple tips that anyone can do:

  • Turn off the tap when you aren't using the water. There are times when you're in the shower or brushing your teeth and you don't need running water, so just turn it off.
  • You don't need the water on full blast. Believe it or not, when you're brushing your teeth/washing hands/washing face etc, you don't need to turn the tap on full blast - a small/medium flow is plenty.
  • To get hot water quicker (for showers etc) just turn on the hot water and wait. To be honest, I haven't exactly tested or verified this, but it seems to work for me. Letting the hot water flow first, then turning on the cold seems to be faster than turning on hot and cold and waiting for it to become warm. Just be careful don't burn yourself.
  • Wash your plates together, not individually. If you live with other people (family, flatmates etc) don't wash your dishes individually, collect them and wash it in one go. It'll save you time and water!

If you're reading this and thinking "I already do this", then great! Though seriously, I've seen some people turn the water on full blast to brush their teeth, and not turn it off until they've finished brushing their teeth. Sometimes I feel the urge to just turn off their tap for them!

Another tip which might not apply to everyone, and takes a bit more time is to capture water to water the plants/flush toilets. Again, there are many ways you can capture water, here are a few:

  • Put a bucket (or similar) in the shower and collect the water that is 'wasted' when you wait for it to heat up. Move the bucket away afterwards, otherwise you might get soap in it.
  • Collect the water you use from washing the vegetables - don't just let it go down the drain.
  • Collect the water from your washing machine. The first discharge may bit a bit soapy, but the second is usually quite clean. 3L milk/juice bottles work very well for this.

Depending on how clean the collected water is, you can use it to water the plants or flush the toilet. You maybe thinking "Yuck, flush the toilet?!", well I can tell you that pouring 3L of water into the toilet bowl efficiently flushes the toilet (this definitely works for Number 1, you can try for Number 2, though you might want to use the inbuilt flush).

PS Apologies for the long gap between this post and the previous one - been snowed under with assignment work, and procrastination doesn't help!