Tips to conserve water
Nelson sometimes experiences dry weather and drought conditions. Conserving water in homes and businesses means that we reduce our impact on river flows and are better prepared to cope with prolonged periods with no rain. Harvesting rainwater to use during droughts can also help provide a water supply during periods of water restrictions.
Following are some hints about conserving water.
Why not download a copy of these tips (3MB PDF) and put it up on your fridge? It's a great way to remind everyone in the house that we need to save water now.
Average household water use
On average, each household connection uses 272 litres of water per day.
How water usage breaks down
- A typical dishwasher uses around 16 litres of water per load
- Summer gardens could drink 1,000 litres per hour
- Washing your car with a running hose can use up to 400 litres
- A deep bath can use more than 200 litres of water but a three-minute shower uses only 80 litres.
How to save water
You can make savings on discretional water use - the non-essentials around your home and garden. Water savings are about preventing waste, like being careful with the hose and attending to leaky taps. The more water you save, the less you will pay. Here's a few simple tips to save you money AND save a little water.
IN THE GARDEN
- Hand watering is a very efficient way to use water
- Water the garden only on calm days, during the evening or early morning to minimise evaporation
- A wisely used timer or irrigation system can save water
- A dripper pipe system is an efficient watering method. Moveable sprinkler systems are the least efficient method
- Cover soil around plants with mulch, straw or grass clippings. This helps the soil retain moisture while discouraging weeds, which compete for water
- Save 'grey water' for garden use
- Don't hose down or 'water-blast' the yard or paths
Don't be a drip
A hose left running can waste up to 40 litres per minute - that's 2,400 litres an hour
A dripping tap can waste over 1,000 litres per day
IN THE HOUSE
- Install water saving shower heads (less than 10 litres per minute) or flow restrictors
- Keep bath levels to a minimum
- Wait until you have a full load before using your dishwasher
- Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or use the half load switch. You'll save as much as 125 litres per full wash.
- When buying a new washing machine, consider a front loading type. They use less water, power and soap powder. You'll save around 50 litres per wash.
- Insulate the hot water pipes, starting from the hot water tank and moving towards the taps
- Don't use the loo as a waste bin
- Turn off the tap once you have collected enough for the task, either in a bowl or in a sink with the plug fitted.
It's easy to reduce the amount of water used to flush the toilet:
- Put a brick or a two-litre bottle of water in the toilet cistern
- Install a flush saving device
- Install a dual flush cistern when buying a new toilet or cistern. A dual system uses between three and six litres per flush
In the yard
- Cover your swimming pool - you'll stop the water evaporating
- Use a bucket and brush when you wash the car and the house windows
The Government had a useful website with helpful hints on water conservation as well as other tips on sustainable living: see water advice from an archive of sustainability.govt.nz.