New Zealand has lots of water right? Well, yes, and no. Canterbury alone has experienced some of its lowest rainfall in 43 years this summer, and many regions of the South Island are declared in drought. Because of New Zealand’s “clean green” reputation, it can be easy to forget that our water supplies still need protecting.
Water conservation starts at home, where our daily use of taps, hoses, dishwashers and toilets all add up to some unsightly numbers. Fortunately, you can dramatically reduce your water usage by making a few small changes to your daily habits.
Saving water at home is a great way to teach your children the importance of sustainability. Every family can take responsibility for its own water usage by making these simple steps towards a brighter environmental future.
Help your family to save water indoors:
1 Teach your kids to turn off the tap when they brush their teeth.
2 Turn off the shower while you soap up or shampoo your hair, then on again to rinse.
3 If you take a bath, fill it with only as much water as you need.
4 See if you can keep your shower to five minutes – try timing yourself next time you hop in. Cutting your shower time by two minutes daily will save you 12 hours a year!
5 Only turn on your dishwasher when it’s full.
6 Don’t use the toilet as a rubbish bin – only use it to flush sanitary waste.
7 Avoid running tap water until it’s cool by keeping a drink bottle in the fridge.
Save water outdoors:
8 Use a broom, not a hose, to clean the driveway and paved areas.
9 Wash your bike or car with a bucket and sponge instead of a hose.
10 Water your garden during the coolest part of the day. If you do it in the heat of the sun the water evaporates before the plants get a chance to drink it.
11 Leaking taps, shower heads, toilets, and hoses can waste litres of water every day.
12 Try this fun experiment – put some food colouring in your toilet’s water tank and if the colour shows up in the bowl without flushing you have a leak!
Re-using and recycling:
13 Use leftover drinking water to water house plants instead of tipping it down the sink.
14 Kitchen garbage disposal units need a lot of water to function properly. Put scraps in your green organic waste bin instead, or even better, start your own compost bin.
15 Those truly dedicated to water conservation could capture shower water while waiting for it to heat, or install a rainwater tank to collect run-off from your gutters. This water can be re-used for watering the garden or washing the car.