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Reducing consumption is possible, particularly when choosing the fittings for a new home.
Gardens & Landscaping 1) The layout of the garden is important to its ultimate water usage. When setting the footprint of the house think about where the water will run off. Running the water naturally into a garden bed will keep more water in the garden and less down the storm water drain. 2) Sloping blocks may need to be terraced to stop water loss and allow the water to drain naturally through the water table. 3) Install a water tank and effective watering system. 4) Group plants according to their water needs, allowing for a more efficient watering pattern. 5) Using good mulch can prevent up to 70%water loss. 6) Toughen up the plants by only watering when they are dry. 7) Use drought tolerant plants such as succulents, cacti and natives. 8) Water the highest parts of the garden first to utilize any run off. 9) Dig a small trench around trees to hold water. 10) Water pot plants by dunking into a bucket of water. When the bubbles stop do the next one. 11) Water roots, not leaves. 12) Always use a trigger hose. 13) Wash cars on the lawn and not the nature strip and use a bucket. 14) Use a commercial car wash, which recycles its water. 15) Water lawns only when needed and restrictions allow. 16) Aerate soil to allow for more penetration. 17) Cut lawns higher. Taller grass holds water better. 18) Select drought resistant grasses. 19) Do not water the driveway.
Pools & Spas 1) Cover pools to reduce
evaporation, retain warmth and keep out leaves. Up to 200 litres of water per day can be lost through evaporation. 2) Allow for fluctuation in the pool level due to evaporation and rainfall, which will often compensate each other. Kitchen 1) Fit aerated taps. Aerated taps reduce the water flow by 50%. 2) Flow control discs do exactly that, control the flow of water through the tap. Flow control discs can be fitted to existing taps, and can be useful for projects and fitted to older taps when extending or renovating. Flow control discs are inexpensive at around $3-4 each and can reduce the flow from around 18-28 litres a minute down to 6,9 or 12 litres, depending on your needs. 3) Dishwashers can be a high consumer of water if not used properly. Always try to buy the highest rating you can afford. AAAAA is the highest available and will be labled accordingly. A dishwasher will be more economical than hand washing but only if used properly. That is, run the dishwasher only when full and don't rinse the dishes before stacking. Use the "rinse & hold" function instead. 4) Lifestyle savings can be achieved by keeping a bottle of drinking water in the fridge or when you do run the tap waiting for the right temperature, collect the water in a jug and use for drinking, washing fruit or watering plants.
Laundry 1) When choosing the new washing machine, same as the dishwasher, look for the one with the highest rating. AAAAA is again the best and the WSAA label will be shaded from low to high efficiency, the more shaded, the better the water consumption performance. 2) Front loading machine use 40% less water than top loading designs and when you consider you can use over 120 litres of water every time you run the machine, correct choice can have a major impact. If you run smaller loads, make sure you adjust the water level to suit the load being washed. 3) Greywater from the rinse cycle can be diverted to the garden or wash the car. Diversion kits are available but care needs to be taken if you plan to store the greywater. Regulations limit the time you can store greywater unless an ultraviolet cleansing system is installed.
Bathroom 1) The correct positioning and choice of hot water unit to suit the project is important. Some projects will be better suited to an off-peak storage unit, particularly if the distance from the unit to the bathroom is not far, however, if the distance is significant, an instantaneous water heater may be the better option. If possible, insulate the hot water pipes to reduce to the amount of water lost waiting for the hot water to come through. 2) Check the thermostat is not set too high. Too high and you will only have to add cold water to the mix and is a waste of power heating the water. 3) AM rated shower heads will save you water. Older shower heads can use over 20 litres per minute and reducing the consumption to 7 litres per minute will save as much as 20,000 litres of water per person, per year. 4) Again, bath water can be saved and used on gardens or to wash the car. 5) Always be on the lookout for leaking taps and fix immediately. 6) Taking shorter showers, fit a clock or timer in the bathroom, turn off the tap when brushing teeth and fill the basin when shaving all help reduce the water consumption. 7) Toilets can be installed with a AAA rated cistern. AAA cisterns use 3-6 litres per flush as against older cisterns using 11-14 litres. AAA cisterns can save 30% against older dual flush cisterns. Placing a brick in the cistern of a single flush toilet will also reduce the capacity of the unit and reduce the water usage. 8) Toilet water saver kits are available and can save up to 70% of the ware from being flushed down the drain by restricting the amount of water available for flushing to two litres. The kits can be used with existing 9 and 11 litre single flush toilets and can save you having to buy a new dual flush toilet. 9) Tanks are also available for collecting rainwater from the roof and using it to flush the toilets.
Choices The choices made at the planning stage are going to have an impact on the cost of running the home for the next decade. Just because water costs are reasonably low right now, there is no guarantee they will remain so indefinitely. Our families and lifestyles depend on the sensible use of resources. Spending big on water consumption when the reservoirs are under pressure does not make much sense, and neither does wasting resources, even if the dams were full.