Water conservation covers both habits and systems. Households fitted with rain water tanks and greywater irrigation systems can save quite substantially on monthly water bills.
0 Find out where your water comes from. Visitwww.journeyofwater.co.za to find out where your local water source area, wherever you are in South Africa. This site will also provide information on the threats facing your water source and what you can do to save water.
0 Make your home water efficient. Measure and monitor your water use from your municipal bill and set goals to become more water efficient. This includes making your garden more water wise by removing water thirsty alien species and planting indigenous plants which require minimal watering.
0 Recycle water. You can install a rain water tank and install a grey water system so as to recycle water for the purpose of watering your garden and other non-essential use.
0 Avoid buying bottled water. Overall, South Africa has world-class quality drinking water so unless you are travelling or unsure about the quality of water in your area, ditch the bottled water. For more info on the quality of water in your town, visit www.dwa.gov.za/bluedrop
0 Cut down your food waste. We consume most water indirectly through the food we eat and things we buy. By being more aware of how much we need food we buy so as not to waste and be aware of the water that goes into producing our food items.
[*Source: The World Wildlife Fund]
Other tips for water conservation:
1. Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or for cleaning.
2. Verify that your home is leak free. Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
3. Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year. This adds to the cost of water and sewer utilities, or can strain your septic system.
4. Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food colouring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, colour will appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food colouring may stain tank.)
5. If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
6. Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water and use this to water plants. The same technique can be used when washing dishes or vegetables in the sink.
7. In the shower, turn water on to get wet; turn off to lather up; then turn back on to rinse off. Repeat when washing your hair.
8. Install a toilet dam or displacement device such as a bag or bottle to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Be sure installation does not interfere with the operating parts.
9. Insulate your water pipes. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.
10. Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don’t let the tap run while you are waiting for cool water to flow.
1. Don’t overwater your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every five to seven days in the summer and every 10 to 14 days in the winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Buy a rain gauge and use it to determine how much rain your yard has received. Most of the year, lawns only need one inch of water per week.
2. Plant it smart. Drought efficient landscaping is a great way to design, install and maintain both your plants and irrigation system. More importantly, it will save time, money and water.
3. Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
4. Don’t allow sprinklers to water your street, driveway or sidewalk. Position them so water lands on the lawn and shrubs… not the paved areas.
5. Install irrigation devices that are the most water efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of water efficient irrigation methods.
6. Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly.
7. Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches or to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.
8. Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. Fertilizer applications increase the need for water. Apply fertilizers which contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
9. Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
10. Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period without watering. Group plants together based on similar water needs.
[**Source: Nelson Mandela Bay municipality]
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