Water Saving

Dripping tap 300ml in 30mins

For the domestic customer, this involves savings to the amount of water we use from the Mains, and are charged for. However, for the industrial customer, this can mean purification and re-use of waste water.

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Drought Conditions

Water for the garden does not have to be pure; in fact plants like the phosphates and bits of organic waste present in both used washing-up and bath water. So this summer use as much of your household water as possible to feed and water your vegetables and flowers. Lawns should be left to their own devices, as grass roots will grow down to seek water. Well intentioned owners watering the surface of a lawn, only encourage roots to grow up towards the wet surface! Obviously this only excerbates the problems in a dry summer. However, do not pour strong suds onto any soil as this has a bad effect on the essential soil insects and worms.

Summer Drought - Winter Drought Burst pipes are not the only reason for lack of water in the winter. As soon as the day and night temperatures drop below freezing, the surface of reservoirs, and the soil, freezes. Precipation in the form of snow or even occasional rain lies on top until a thaw occurs. However, the populace continues to draw water off from underneath the ice and this water cannot be replaced until the thaw comes. Therefore, use water just as sparingly as you would at the height of a dry summer.

Buckets can be heaped up with snow, without risk of them overflowing. Snow is just fluffy bits of solid water that traps a lot of air. So, as it thaws and returns to liquid water the volume will decrease. This water can then be used for cooking, washing-up,and later for such activities as the flushing of loos! If you have a few buckets and Jerry cans etc. around the house, make use of them and make prolonged winter weather a lot less disagreeable. Obviously, do not use dirty snow, just the clean white stuff!

Water Saving by checking that you do not have leaky, unobserved over-flow pipes exiting your roof; and by checking that none of the taps in the house are leaking; you can save money on your water bill and help to prevent water shortages over the summer. Recently the overflow pipe from my attic tanks was releasing 10 litres of water in a mere 5 hours due to an intermittently leaking valve. Had it continued at this rate, I could have lost 1cu.m in 20.83 days (1000 litres = 1 cubic metre) and and paid for an extra whopping 17.52cu.m/ann! The building in question is a 1980s bungalow with many problems due to poor building design - certainly a design that is illogical on several counts. More of it's problems will be brought to your attention in the coming months.

Kitchen

  • Checking for Water Losses: For most taps this is easily done, simply place a measuring jug under the tap to be tested and ensure that it cannot block the drainage hole. Leave overnight and note the amount of water collected - this may now be used to fill the kettle etc. It is amazing how many taps drip without being noticed; and mixer taps seem to have a habit of filling up with water and then releasing a stream of water as infrequently as every 10 mins or more. Un-noticed drips lead to increased water bills, as well as waste of water.
  • In these days when lead piping has disappeared from all but the oldest of houses it is not necessary to run the Mains cold tap before using the water for drinking etc. Only if you live in a listed house is there any likelihood of still having any Lead piping in the system. Even Lead is not a problem if one is washing clothes, or in the bathroom. To check the amount of water you waste each time you flush the tap, just put the plug in the sink first!
  • Consider stacking crockery used during the day to be washed up after the evening meal - after all those of you using dish washers save dirty crockery until the machine is full. This means that one only has to heat the water for washing up once, rather than using hot water throughout the day.
  • In summer use the bowl of washing-up-water to water the plants in tubs and pots etc. in the garden. The soap content will not damage the plants, but it will help to control small insect pests e.g. White Fly.
  • Do rinse when washing up, as washing up liquid is not designed to be beneficial to your digestion. However, for rinsing, use a second bowl of clear water wherever possible; rather than rinsing under the tap.
  • Save on hot water by using cold water for rinsing. This has the added benefit that, if air drying the crockery and saucepans, there will not be any limescale deposits as there are with hot water.
  • Use the kettle to boil the amount of water that you actually need rather than filling it up each time.
  • When boiling potatoes on the stove, use a steamer on top to cook the vegetables, thus saving a second saucepan of water; plus retaining more of the vitamins.
  • The kitchen floor is unlikely to need washing on a regular basis; but it does need spills to be cleaned up and brushing daily.

Bathroom

  • Put the plug in the bath to check the difference in water use between having a shower with the water running all the time; and having a shower by wetting oneself, then turning the water off while soaping and shampooing your hair, only turning it on again to rinse off. There is a big saving!
  • Remember that it has only been since the 1970s that the population has considered that it needs a shower each day. Before then daily washing was done with a basin of water and a second for rinsing only if the water became very dirty or soapy. Yet the population using this method did not smell dirty and saved a lot of money spent to-day on skin care products. Most of these are only necessary because of the fact that we are forever washing and rubbing away our natural oils. The norm was a bath in which one could soak once a week and a small jug to rinse off by those who felt that this was necessary.
  • Use the plug in the basin when washing hands etc. Most of the time only a little water is necessary, but one uses a lot more if the tap is left running.
  • Where possible fit a dual flush system for the toilet, so that a full flush is not used every time. 'Hippos' - the bags added to the cistern - are good, but do not allow for a full flush when this is needed, unless one empties them before flushing and then reinserts the full 'Hippo' after full flushing has been completed.

Garden

  • Use second hand water where possible. It actually contains substances that are beneficial to plant life and unless the water is excessively soapy it will not damage the damp skin of soil living organisms e.g. Worms and tiny insects etc.
  • Refer to the section on Rain Water.

Top Tips new and used

Rainwater saving for me the use of rainwater from the water butt in the garden - 0.77 cu.m from a roof area of 27.72 sq.m at 45° facing south - has meant that in the last quarter my bill fell to a consumption of only 1 cubic metre from the water mains!

This water was used to flush the loo - albeit by use of a bucket, since I am not at liberty to alter the plumbing of my rented house; wash in (checked under the microscope nothing live showed, just microscopic bits of roof tiles! and to water the house plants and vegetable seedlings in the garden.

WooWoo the Waterless Toilet

These Kazubaloo toilets not only need no water; but they do not need any chemicals; nor do they need any source of power, other than a light breeze across the top of the air-chimney. They are robustly made of metal and wood; and are ideal for occasional or low use e.g. they have been sited discretely in large gardens and parks open to the public, golf courses, allotments, camp sites and would be great for many outdoor education sites. A brilliant idea that works!

Water Deficit or Ample Sufficiency Earth is dynamic. Cold eras alternate with hot ones. Earth is still coming out of a cold one, whether or not human behaviour is exacerbating it. Heat absorption at the Poles means an increasing area of water to air surface; and this means more evaporation. Clouds laden with water soon lose it by precipitation. Therefore there should be plenty for an earth sized population. But currently our global population needs a planet that is 1.4 - 1.5 times bigger! Not only this but each of us uses more water in the home than we did a century ago; and to this we have to add the water required for our manufacturing industries, energy etc. Starter solutions are to:

  • use less in our personal lives - be sensible in your cleaning of the home.
  • avoid buying stuff that quickly degenerates (most plastics) or that only has a short period of usefulness - the best childrens toys are cardboard boxes, paper and round tipped scissors, closely followed by Lego (a plastic!), Mechano, offcuts of materials, unravelled wool and threads etc. For longevity and beauty try wooden toys - they lock up carbon for their lives!
  • buy good quality gadgetry. Stuff that you know will last you several years and still be useful to others.
  • allow the heat of the sun to heat your home in the summer with removeable panels of insulation; rather than creating an ice box that relies on you to buy heating for it both summer and winter. I rent such a horror!
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