Just this morning, Bord Gais posted this notice through our door in Dublin. We all know we’re getting water charges imposed on us soon, but I’m guessing that this is the first official notice on a house by house basis.
We’re more than likely going to be charge on a flat rate basis initially, but eventually (and we should be demanding it as soon as possible) we should be moving to a metered charge.
With all that in mind, it’s never too soon to be looking at your household usage of water (even if your motivation is purely financial rather than the environmental motivations we’re probably supposed to have had already).
Here, then, are the top VI tips on what you should be doing, even now, to save water in your household:
- Stop Running - You should never do anything with water that involves leaving the tap running (unless you’re in the shower, which should only take you 4 minutes). So, when brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your hands, cleaning vegetables or rinsing dishes don’t leave the tap running while you’re doing it. You could even keep a jug of water in the fridge to save you leaving the cold tap run just to get nice cold water to drink.
- Load Up - Whenever you are washing stuff in machines (dishes, clothes) only turn on the machine when it has a full load. (That could extend to sharing the shower as well, but that’s up to you). But remember, don’t load up with boiling the kettle – only boil what you need to save both water and energy.
- Shower Time – If you do take showers, try to keep them short remembering that power showers use maybe 4 times more water than gravity fed ones. You could also shave and brush your teeth in the shower as well – saving time, and water.
- Fix Stuff - We can all convince ourselves we don’t hear the dripping, but don’t ignore broken water pipes, taps or tanks – even if only minor problems. Fix problems immediately, and if you need to replace anything, make sure it’s the most water efficient version (e.g. dual flush, low profile toilet cisterns and aerated water taps). Take preventative measures as well by insulating cold water pipes to prevent bursts, You could even insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the tap.
- Garden Care – Given how much rain we normally get, you shouldn’t need much additional water in your garden. You could also Choose plants that don’t need much watering. You should also save on the rainy day but collecting rainwater for watering plants and the lawn at other times. Try not to use a hose, but if you must, get a trigger nozzle to reduce wastage.
- Mellow Yellow – I can’t find out where this originally came from, but a particularly extreme way of saving water involves limiting how often you flush the toilet. As the saying goes, ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down.’