Creating a waters savings plan for the household is an important component of any plan to live in a way that creates the smallest carbon footprint. But in Australia, it serves another purpose, which is to reduce water consumption in a country beleaguered by short periods of torrential rains and long periods of no rain.
When you read the research material, it is clear that some people are struggling to not be alarmists. There are some areas of Australia that could literally become inhabitable if the rate of population growth coupled with the dry conditions does not change. That is why the government has placed some strict limits on the use of water for non-household use such as irrigation in various regions. Melbourne and the surrounding area is just one of those regions.
Blowing with the Wind
Australia has some of the most variable rainfall in the world. This is created by a climate condition called the Southern Oscillation. The Southern Oscillation is a major shift in air pressure that occurs between the east Pacific and the Asian regions. In the extreme it is called El Niño which most people are familiar with since it’s in the news all the time.
Actually drought is monitored from four perspectives in Australia. There is localized drought, normal drought period that is El Nino related, drought that is short and intense and related to a normal but strong El Niño, and a long lived drought that is caused by a severe and not normal El Niño and many other factors.
What does this mean to your day-to-day activities? It means you need to create a household plan for reducing the amount of water consumption which includes taking steps like installing a hidden tank for outdoor water usage and reducing your indoor water consumption. If you do it and your neighbors do it and your city does it and your state does it then soon the accumulated water usage reduction will have a real impact on the preservation of natural water supplies.
Greening Your Home with Water Savings
“Go green!” is the battle cry of water conservationists. Greening your home requires a complete review of what you buy and how you use natural resources like water and power. In Australia, conserving water takes the top spot simply because Australia is the driest inhabited continent on the face of the earth. A water savings plan in Australia will include both the inside and outside of the house. On the inside there are many ways to create water savings. In your plan, you will look for ways to reduce the amount of consumption whenever water is required. This can include making new appliance installations or simply changing your behavior.
On the Inside
The best way to begin developing a water savings plan for the inside of the house is to do a Thorough Inventory.
* Insure the house water meter reads usage correctly
* Check for plumbing leaks and make necessary repairs
* Determine energy efficiency of the house appliances
* Review types of fixtures in place such as showerheads and taps
* Analyze family practices involving water
Though it may not be financially feasible to replace current appliances and fixtures with state-of-the-art products, anyone can change their behavior to realize water savings.
* Don’t put off repairing plumbing leaks
* Flushing a toilet uses up to 1.84 liters of water with each flush so don’t use the toilet as a disposal for cigarettes or other items
* Insulate your pipes so water heats up quicker
* Don’t let water run from the faucet when it’s not needed, i.e. while soaping hands, brushing teeth, and shaving, rinsing dishes, or cleaning items
* Take short showers
* Install water saving attachments to faucets when not able to install new fixtures
* Maintain a supply of cool drinking water in the refrigerator
* Operate your washer or dishwasher only when it’s full to minimize the number of loads washed
As you can see, water consumption on the inside of the house is about paying attention to when water is running or leaking. But you have many outside uses for water also, and that means a water savings plan for a household must include lowering the amount of water consumption used for outside needs.
On the Outside
Lawn and garden watering accounts for a major use of water. You invest a lot of money in your landscaping and letting it dry up is not a pleasant thought. When you create a water savings plan for the household, you will also need to make sure you include a plan for water conservation for these types of needs. One of the most advantageous steps you can take to reduce the amount of treated water used, while still being able to maintain your lawn and gardens even during drought conditions, is to install an underground water tank. The number of hidden water tanks in Australia is growing rapidly as the drought conditions continue to worsen due to climate changes and a growing population.
Water conservation methods for exterior water use include the following.
* Only water your lawn when necessary
* Water in the early morning or late afternoon to reduce the amount of water that evaporates
* Water down to root level and then stop watering before the water begins to puddle around the base of the plant due to ground saturation
* Use native Australian plants that are drought hardy
* Mulch around plants to reduce evaporation
* Don’t water where water is not needed such as your driveway by being careful where you place sprinklers
* Wash your car only when truly needed to protect its exterior
* Don’t use water to complete chores than can be done ‘dry’ such as cleaning the concrete walkway
* Fix leaks around faucets or hose connections
Once again, you can see that a water savings plan for the household is mostly about being alert to how you act when using water. Saving Water a Drop at a Time
Tanks like those sold by Hidden Tanks enable you to collect rainwater to use for all the outdoor activities requiring water. You don’t use a drop of treated water, and every drop saved is a drop that can be used for drinking water within the water utility system. These tanks are custom built and can be adapted to virtually any property configuration making them an ideal addition to a water savings plan.
The Australian government is committed to water conservation. For example, Melbourne already recycles 21.5% of its sewage into water for outdoor use such as watering gold courses and vineyards. But the only way Australia will truly be able to handle its water shortage is if each household creates a water savings plan for the household – inside and out!