The average Canadian uses over 10,000 litres of water each month. That is enough water to fill 100 bathtubs! There are several areas inside and outside the home where you can incorporate simple water conservation strategies.
In the Bathroom
- A whopping 45 litres of water is wasted if you let the tap run for 5 minutes. Remember to turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth or shaving!
- Low-flow faucet aerators are easy to install, and can reduce the flow of water from your tap by 25-50%.
- Low-flow shower heads can save over 27,000 litres of water a year.
- The average bath uses 100 litres of water! Try bathing less and showering more.
Toilets are responsible for 30% of the water used in your home. Compared with older models which can use up to 20 litres per flush, low-flow models use only 6 litres of water with each flush - and dual-flush models use even less water! A low-flow toilet will quickly pay for itself with the water it saves. Plus, most municipalities offer financial incentives to upgrade:
- The City of Calgary offers rebates on eligible toilets.
- The Town of Cochrane has a retrofit rebate program.
- The Town of Canmore has a rebate program for low-flow toilets and shower heads.
If you are unable to replace your water guzzling toilet try these cost effective ideas:
- Fill a plastic bottle with water and pebbles, and place it in your toilet's tank. The bottle will displace some water, and reduce the amount of water for each flush. Note: When installing, make sure not to interrupt the flushing mechanisms or water flow. Caution: Do not use a brick as this will disintegrate over time, which can cause serious and expensive plumbing problems.
- Use a water retention device, such as a toilet dam.
- Try alternative flushing: "Let the yellow mellow and flush the brown down."
- Fix your leaky toilet! Toilets can silently leak 20 to 40 litres per hour! A good way to find out if your toilet is wasting water is to add a few drops of food colouring to the tank and wait a few minutes to see if any colour leaks into the bowl.
- Insulate water pipes to reduce hot water delivery delay (and wasted water) experienced while waiting for water to run hot from the faucets.
In the Kitchen
There are many simple and inexpensive changes you can make in the kitchen to help conserve water.
- Make sure your dishwasher is full before you run a load. If you only have a few dishes hand wash them instead of running small loads;
- Use the water and energy saving cycle in the dishwasher;
- Replace your dishwasher with an energy- and water-efficient model. Watch for ENERGY STAR rated appliances carrying an EnerGuide label. These products are among the most efficient available. More information about EnerGuide.
- Don't rinse food or dishes under the tap. Use some water in a bowl or in the sink;
- Try adding a water-saving aerator to your faucet. A low-flow faucet aerator can reduce the flow of water from your tap by 25-50%. An aerator is included in the City of Calgary's Indoor Water Saving Kit. These water savings kits are available for $15 from Clean Calgary's EcoStore.
- If composting is permitted in your community (mountain communities have restrictions, as compost can attract bears), use a composter instead of your in-sink garburator. This will save water and electricity, and will provide you with rich compost for use in your garden.
- Do not thaw frozen foods under running water; Defrost foods in the microwave or refrigerator;
- Leave a bottle of water in the refrigerator so you'll always have cold water to drink. This is quicker and more water efficient than letting your tap run everytime you want a drink;
- Recycle unused drinking water to feed your pets or house plants.
In the Yard
Sprinklers use 950 litres of water per hour! Follow these steps to conserve water:
- Your lawn is not as thirsty as you may think. It only requires 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water in one week period - use a rain gauge, marked tuna can, or frisbee to measure how much water your lawn is receiving;
- The sun is at its most intense between 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. 40% to 60% of water applied to lawns and gardens during that time will evaporate! Water your lawns and gardens in the early morning or evening. It is cooler and there is less wind.
- Did you know that plants with gray, fuzzy, waxy or finely divided leaves are considered drought-tolerant? Plants like daylilies, clematis, flax, lavender, sage, bellflowers and peonies thrive under dry conditions. Check with your garden centre for further suggestions;
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn. They will discourage weeds, help to retain moisture, and replenish the soil with nutrients;
- Did you know that about 70% to 80% of all plant problems are directly related to incorrect watering - you may have a green thumb after all.
One of the best reasons to start harvesting rainwater with rain barrels is that if you teach and encourage others to do the same, you will help to spread the culture of rainwater collection and in turn help your larger community and the environment.www.rainbarrelguide.com
Other Water Saving Tips & Links
Leaks might seem insignificant, but a faucet leaking one drop per second can waste up to 25 litres per day or more than 10,000 litres per year. You can quantify visible leaks by using a standard household measuring container and a stopwatch: One drip per second equals about 25 litres per day; five drips per second (a thin steady stream) equals about 151 litres per day.
- A leaking toilet can silently waste 20 to 40 litres per hour! A good way to find out if your toilet is wasting water is to add a few drops of food colouring to the tank and wait a few minutes to see if any colour leaks into the bowl.
- Another way to check for leaks: Turn off all taps in your home and check your water meter to see if water is still flowing.
Water Saving Kits
The indoor kit includes a low-flow massaging showerhead, faucet aerators, toilet tank bags, leak detection tablets, and more. The outdoor kit includes a garden hose nozzle, automatic sprinkler timer, rain gauge, lawn & garden tips, and more.