As we all know from school the earth’s water is constantly in movement, the water cycle or hydrologic cycle, describes the movement of water above, below, and under the earths surface.
As the name ‘water cycle’ implies there is no beginning or end to this process and while water may change state from liquid, to vapour, to ice depending on the part of the water cycle that you are looking at, the amount of water on Earth remains constant over time. Unfortunately there are now more and more people on the planet to share this limited resource with, and the only way to deal with the growing shortage is to conserve as much water as possible by using what we have in the most responsible way.
Even when water seems abundant it’s important that we all do our bit to conserve as much as possible, aside from the obvious benefits of conserving water in an effort to reduce costs to you or your business, the widely publicised environmental concerns should also give us all a real incentive to conserve water. Many of the worlds people face serious water shortages, the BBC claim that “People in rich countries use 10 times more water than those in poor ones.” and that “water-borne diseases already kill one child every eight seconds”
Conserving Tap Water
The average running tap uses approximately 10 litres of water every minute, and dripping taps can use up to 90 litres of water per week.
Top tips to conserve tap water:
» Mend any dripping taps with appropriate washers and ball-valves
» Don’t waste clean water on plants, put a bowl in your sink and use water from your washing up or cooled cooking water instead
» Don’t run tap water until it’s cold, use your fridge to chill water or purchase a specialist undersink chiller or water cooler
» Put a bowl in your sink or use the plug to avoid cleaning clothes etc under a running tap
» Don’t overfill your kettle; boiling unnecessary amounts of water is wasteful and will increase your bills
Conserving Water in the Bathroom
Flushing a toilet uses up to 10 litres of water every time and accounts for a third of the water used in the home. According to Cambridge Water “A standard shower uses 35 litres every 5 minutes… …An average depth bath uses 80 litres… and “A 'Power Shower' uses 80 litres”
Top tips to conserve water in the Bathroom:
» Have a shower rather than a bath but don’t spend too long under the shower
» Don’t run water continuously when cleaning your teeth perhaps make use of a glass or mug
» Fit a Hippo in your cistern. A Hippo is a small plastic bag which retains water in the bag every time that you flush. For more information contact you local water authority (many offer these devices for free)
» Use a waste basket instead of your toilet to dispose of those small bits of rubbish that are often created in the bathroom
Conserving Water when using your Washing Machine
Washing machines use a massive amount of water, on each cycle this can amount to as much as 70 to 120 Litres of water at a time. A full load uses less water than 2 half loads.
Top tips to conserve water when using your Washing Machine:
» Make sure that you machine has a full load before turning it on, if you have to use your machine half full use the half load button
» When buying a new machine make sure it is efficient as possible
Conserving Water when using your Dishwasher
A Dishwasher uses up to 60 litres of water each time that it is used.
Top tips to conserve water when using your Dishwasher:
» Make sure that your machine is fully loaded prior to use
» Avoid pre-rinsing dishes and cutlery under a flowing tap, this is almost always unnecessary
Conserving Water with proper Maintenance
Maintaining your home or business premises can save you money and help conserve water.
Top tips to conserve water by maintaining your Home or Business Premises:
» Maintain your plumbing systems and fix all leaks as soon as possible
» Insulate venerable pipes to avoid them freezing and bursting in the cold weather
» Make sure you know where your stop tap is so that you can isolate any leaks as soon as possible
Conserving Water in the Garden
As a nation of garden lovers it’s important that we are all careful when tending our gardens in order to conserve as much of the mains water supply as possible.
Top tips to conserve water in the Garden:
» Install a water butt or similar to make use of all of that rain water that lands on your roof. Rainwater is a great natural resource which should be used where possible to fulfill some of the more basic requirements in the garden. Installing a water butt is the best way to harness this natural asset, and it’s a fact that rainwater is better for garden plants than tap water.
» Use waste kitchen water wherever possible to water your plants
» Water your garden during the evening or late afternoon when it’s cooler to help reduce evaporation
» Don’t use a garden sprinkler these devises are wasteful and unnecessary
» Reduce the size of your lawn and buy plants that require less moisture
» Water your lawn once a week only; this will help to preserve your water, it’s also better for your lawn as over watering can encourage roots to seek the surface
» Mulch your garden with tree bark, coconut compost etc to prevent evaporation
Conserving Water by limiting Hosepipe use
There’s a reason why UK homes have faced hosepipe bans in the past, hosepipes are an incredibly wasteful way of consuming water.
Top tips to limit Hosepipe use:
» Clean paths and driveways with a brush not a hose
» Clean your vehicles with a bucket and sponge rather than using a hose, or limit the hose to the removal of foam after the vehicle has been cleaned
» When only a hose will do you can avoid wasting water by fitting a shutoff valve on your hosepipe
» Fit a Water Butt (see above) as an alternative to watering your garden with a hosepipe
Conserving Water at Work
As well as ensuring that you follow some of the above measures most notably those that relate to maintenance, taps, hosepipes and toilet facilities businesses can also conduct audits and observe a few additional practices that will help them to conserve water.
Top tips to conserve water at Work:
» One of the best ways for a business to reduce the amount of waste that it produces is to conduct a waste audit; this audit will cover other factors as well as water wastage. For more information on how to conduct a waste audit visit the Business Link website or do a search on “waste audit” in Google
» The production of paper uses an incredible amount of water try to reduce your paper use by as much as possible
» Eliminate automatic flushing devices in toilet areas and replace with water efficient devices
» Consult a plumber for advice regarding the potential for pressure reducers and flow restrictors to reduce the use of water
» When replacing old equipment ensure that the new models use water efficiently
» Investigate ways in which your business can reuse cooling water for other purposes
» Only clean windows as required not on a periodic basis
» Involve your staff by offering awards and incentives and put a reporting procedure in place