Monday, 11 October 2010

Saving tap water indoors

by Francesca

Last week I wrote a post on FuoriBorgo on how my family saves up to 17.5 liters of tap water a day with very little effort, by using a "water saving jug." I was surprised by the interest that the post attracted (it was also republished on Re-Nest). So today I decided to write about the key steps we take to conserve tap water in our house (we don't use tap water for gardening). Using tap water efficiently, even in an area like ours where water is plentiful, saves money on our water bill and electricity bill (by using less hot water), helps reduce pollution in watersheds, and increases the life of our septic system.

The key steps we take:

1) collect the water we use for washing fruit and vegetables, and reuse it to water plants
2) catch the water that runs while we're heating up the water for dish-washing, and use it for cooking
3) use a water saving jug in the shower
4) periodically check our faucets, pipes and toilet for leaks
5) use a low-flow shower aerator
6) use low-flow faucet aerators

low-flow aerator

The above steps are surprisingly easy. Installing low-flow faucet and shower head aerators, for example, only involves the initial, very low cost of the parts (in fact our local grocery store handed them out for free years ago). These aerators, which can reduce the water use by up to 65%, are simple to install (they usually just screw onto the tap) and need minimum maintenance: every so often, depending on your water hardness, you unscrew them, soak them in vinegar to clean out any mineral deposits, rinse and reinstall.

low-flow aerator 1

We find that good water management not only brings immediate savings and benefits, but it also teaches our whole family the values of a sustainable lifestyle: conserving water isn't just a strategy for the immediate future, but seems to us an investment in the long-term well-being of our children and our earth.

What steps do you take to conserve tap water in your home?