The Top 10 Tips for Saving Water

The top 10 tips for saving water

  1. The first saving that most households implement is the catching of shower water into a bucket that can be used for flushing the loo.. But remember, one bucket is often not enough. If 2 or more people use the same bathroom you’ll need enough buckets so all the shower water is captured. You may find it more efficient to use a wide washing up bowl for capturing the water rather than a bucket. This will catch more water and you can then decant it into buckets after your shower. Showers should always be less than 2 min. You will need to install a water saving shower head (from as little as R100 ea) and you can get water restrictors for standard taps also.

  2. You are probably going to find that the shower water alone is not enough for the day’s flushing. If you have a well point or borehole, this water may also be used in the house. You should have your water tested first to make sure it is safe to use and won’t corrode pipes. But unless this water is close at hand people are going to use municipal water to flush. Therefore it is a good idea if you have well point or borehole water to keep a water barrel topped up that is close at hand. Buckets can then be filled up from there. You need to make it as easy as possible for everyone to save municipal water.

  3. Washing machine and dishwasher water can often be captured easily. The outlet pipe should be placed into a barrel or dustbin so the water can be saved. You will need to check your machines output however. An older top loader will use around 160 litres even on a quick wash. The biggest black bin at Mambos is 90 litres so you may need to stand by ready to move the outlet pipe from one bin to the next as it gets full. If you only have one bin you can put the outlet pipe back in its original outlet after you have captured your first 90 litres. However, if you are unsure how much water your machine uses, watch the first wash so that you don’t overflow the bin and get a flood. A front loader less than 10 years old will use around 80 litres so one bin will be fine. However there are new front loaders now that use even less water. Always remember to only run washing machines and dishwashers with a full load. When storing grey water from washing machines, remember this can start to smell quite quickly so it should be used first. You will have to accept that clothes must be used for longer periods before washing. Keeping clothes clean means less washing. Spray a mixture of Stay Soft and water onto clothes and hang them up to air to keep them fresh longer.

  4. We are not getting much rain but anything that falls should be captured. Depending on your roof and gutters this rainwater may not be fit for drinking but is great for other uses such as washing dishes etc. However, you can always use water purification tablets in rainwater to make it fit for drinking. You can have a professional modify your gutters to harvest rainwater into tanks or barrels. You’ll be amazed at how much water a heavy shower can produce.

  5. If you have a pool and want to keep it topped up, you can use harvested rain water for this (presuming we get enough rain). Remember, your pool is a great storage tank and pool water can also be used for many things when the taps are finally switched off. Once again, check the suitability of the water bearing in mind the chemicals that may be in it. If the water gets below the level of the weir you may have problems running the pool pump and it could turn green. For this reason make sure the cover in the weir that your pool cleaner fits into, fits tightly. If this is done properly you can still run the pump with low water via the pool cleaner pipe. A pool cover will also help to stop evaporation.

  6. You will have to backwash your pool regularly if you want it to keep operating properly and not have pressure build up. However, a two minute backwash typically uses around 300 to 600 litres of water and this is normally lost. A weekly backwash is therefore expensive on water. A pool backwash system allows you to reuse up to 80% to 90% of the water you backwash. A system will cost you around R4000 DIY or R5,500 fully installed from most pool companies.

  7. You can also use rainwater to top up your pool. Hardware shops sell flat blue pipe for about R30 per metre that fits over the end of round downpipes. However, they can be tricky as they tend to blow around in the wind or kink and block water flow. There is a better DIY method that can be done quickly and easily for just a few rand. Take off the bottom spouts from round plastic downpipes. Then buy plastic bottles from Mambos for around R5.50 each. Cut them in half and slide the top half over the end of the downpipe and tape it on with white duck tape. A 25mm black irrigation pipe fits exactly over the neck of the bottle. You may then need a plastic elbow and you can run the irrigation pipe into the pool. It’s as easy as that. You may even dig a small trench so this pipe can be out of sight under the lawn. For square down pipes use the same system. Just find a suitable bottle like a 2 litre juice bottle and cut it in half and find a pipe that fits exactly over the neck. Often a pool vacuum pipe will do the job. To stop leaves from the gutter going down the downpipe and causing blockages, push a crumpled handful of chicken wire into the top of the downpipe.

  8. Use waterless hand sanitizer for hand washing. You’ll see many shopping malls have already switched off taps in public toilets and have sanitizer available instead. Dry shampoo has been around for years and works well. Spray powder into hair and brush out. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Turn off the shower when soaping up.

  9. Reducing dirty dishes also reduces the water need for cleaning them. Try using paper plates or plates covered in cling wrap that can be peeled off and thrown away after use. Encourage everyone to keep a personal water bottle in the fridge so you don’t keep having to wash drinking glasses. Keep a bowl of water by the sink and rinse dishes in this before putting them in the dishwasher. When this water gets too dirty, use it for flushing toilets.

  10. Finally, track your water usage daily. Keep a simple chart showing date, meter reading and make a note if you used a washing machine or dishwasher that day. Guests houses can also note how many guests they had. Knowing your daily usage helps you to keep track of where your water is going. It also keeps you involved and helps everyone in the home to become motivated about saving water. Just make sure you take the meter reading at the exact same time each day. If your meter is hard to read because it is in the shade or located upside down, try using your cell phone to take a photo of it. When you are checking your meter, also check that the numbers are not moving if no one is using water. This may be an indication that you have a leak. If you are, first check toilet cisterns by adding food colouring to the cistern. You can then watch to see if the colour leaks into the toilet bowl. If you follow all of the above tips, the only thing left to do is pray for rain.


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4 Responses to The Top 10 Tips for Saving Water

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  3. Sam Beck says:

    Hey, Great article. Water conservation can be beneficial too. The benefits of water conservation includes money saving, protects drinking water resources, minimize water pollution and health risks and It also saves energy use to pump and treat water.

  4. A very good and informative article indeed . It helps me a lot to enhance my knowledge. I really like the way the writer presented his views. I hope to see more informative and useful articles in future.

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