Water saving habits are those easy-to-learn daily behaviours that can save us thousands of litres (and dollars) during the course of our lives.
Thousands of litres of pure fresh water are wasted every day by bad habits we have all developed. While the water we use at home may seem trivial (only 7 per cent of all water used in Australia) its conservation is a step toward increasing our knowledge and respect for this precious, life-giving resource - a resource all the living systems around us also rely on, and that we waste at their cost.
How to do it now!
Adjust your daily habits to save litres of clean fresh water (and dollars) every day.
- Brushing your teeth. Use a glass of water instead of a running tap for wetting the brush and rinsing. A running tap can waste about 16 litres of water each minute.
- Washing your body. Take a shower instead of a bath and limit your showers to a maximum of four minutes.
- Shaving. Use a cup, sink or container of warm water to clean the shaver in rather than a warm running tap. Never shave in the shower.
- Clearing dishes after the meal. Scrape and compost your food waste instead of rinsing it off plates and dishes.
- Washing dishes. Rinse dishes in a bucket and use the water on the garden afterwards.
- Packing the dishwasher. Don't rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher (that's what the machine is for).
- Washing clothes. Ensure you only do full loads of washing, if possible using cold water and adjusting water levels to suit the size of loads.
- Waiting for the warm water to arrive. Try and capture the water that flows out of the shower or tap prior to it being the right temperature and put it on the garden.
- Fix dripping taps and toilets quickly. They can waste up to 13 litres of water a day.
To learn a new habit requires a few simple steps:
- Decide as a household the habits you're going to establish and ensure everyone is on board.
- Set up reminders: try notes on the fridge and on the light switches. Empower the kids to dob you in (they'll love it).
- Do the habit consciously for a week, then two, then it should be established and your unconscious will keep it going.
- At the end of each water billing period note the savings and reward yourselves.
Why is this action important?
Fresh water is the lifeblood of nature. Without it, we would not have clean air, food, drink and many aesthetic and recreational benefits. Therefore, we need to ensure we use water in a sustainable way – we need to share it with all life on the planet and respect and value this ‘lifeblood’. The consequences of doing otherwise can be seen in the spreading deserts across the world and the resulting drought and famine that can soon follow.
Almost every river and wetland system in Australia is under stress from human withdrawal of water. River Red Gums, fish breeding stocks and estuary systems are dying. The human need for water is continuing to expand in the face of this. We need to move towards being as efficient with our water use as nature is.
Clean fresh water from the tap is, for most people in the world, a luxury. As the Australian water supply is stretched, recycled and sterilised at the expense of our waterways, we expose ourselves to toxic algae, chemically treated water and an increased vulnerability to severe drought. Many people across the globe are not so lucky, and a lack of clean water and associated diseases kills tens of millions of children each year. So water wisely, and conserve this precious resource.