Ideas to save water for times of scarcity

By Doug Williams
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Ideas to save water for times of scarcity

Doug Williams
 
 
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If you live in a part of the world where a copious supply of water is not guaranteed, it is a good idea to be prepared for times of drought. In water-scarce countries, conserving water at all times is recommended. Gathering rainwater when it does rain is also a very important thing to do.

Some tips for conserving water

You should always have a plan in place for a drought scenario. Buy some barrels in which you can collect rain water during wetter periods. Use these methods to conserve water at home at all times.

1. Always ensure that the dishwasher is full before running a cycle. A dishwasher commonly uses about 10 gallons of water every time you run it.

Save water by only running a full load in the dishwasher or washing machine
Save water by only running a full load in the dishwasher or washing machine

2. In the same way, the clothes washing machine should be full before you turn it on. A washing machine will easily use 50 gallons of water to wash one load.

3. In the kitchen use a bowl full of water in which to clean fruit and vegetables. Do not waste water allowing it to run off down the drain while washing the food. The water from the bowl can then be used to water your plants.

Reuse “graywater” on the plants or to wash your car
Reuse “graywater” on the plants or to wash your car

4. Keep a jug of drinking water in the fridge rather than running the tap each time you want a drink of cool water.

5. Do not allow the water to just run while washing your dirty dishes.

Use a bowl instead of letting that water run down the drain
Use a bowl instead of letting that water run down the drain

6. Nearly 70% of water used in the average home is used in the bathroom. Do not overfill the tub. Fill a bath only halfway and save up to 15 gallons a time.

7. Shower quickly as between 3 and 5 gallons of water is used every minute. Handy gadgets like Waterpebble are really useful aids for saving water in the shower.

There are plenty of water saving gadgets available to use in the bathroom
There are plenty of water saving gadgets available to use in the bathroom

8. Do not use the toilet to flush rubbish away that could be thrown in a waste basket. Avoid unnecessary flushes.

9. Always put water into a cup for rinsing after you brush your teeth, and when washing your hands run a small amount of water into the sink.

Saving a little water here and there soon adds up to make a big difference
Saving a little water here and there soon adds up to make a big difference

10. Remember that water down the drain has left the house forever. Use as much graywater as you can for other things such as watering the garden. If you have space to keep some barrels, you should get some.

Collect rainwater

Rainwater has been collected for general use by many cultures. There is evidence that even the ancient Romans did this. The concept is becoming widespread, and rainwater harvesting ideas are the subject of competitions in many areas.

The tank is also connected to a piped water supply. Picture by C.Rieck (2011) – Author: SuSanA Secretariat – CC BY 2.0
The tank is also connected to a piped water supply. Picture by C.Rieck (2011) – Author: SuSanA Secretariat – CC BY 2.0

There are many different rainwater barrels to choose from, some are better looking than others. People are using barrels which have been previously used for other purposes, such as food industry storage etc.. Any barrels which can hold a reasonable amount of water are good.

The fact is that there are about 500 gallons of run off from an average home after just 1 inch of rain, so it is clear how quickly a barrel will fill. This saved water can be used during a time when there is little rain, not only to keep your plants alive but to wash your car or to do any other outdoor washing that needs doing.

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