July 2018 has had one of the driest starts to the month since records began. With many areas now considering enforcing a hose pipe ban, we’re looking at ways in which we can save water in and around the home to help conserve water wherever possible. Following just a few handy water conservation tips, it’s easier than you might think to use less water all year around whether there’s a hose ban or not. Plus it’ll help save you money!
1. Save water when washing the car
Just because it’s summer doesn’t stop your car getting dirty – especially with all the dust and bugs. But did you know washing your car with a hose can use up to 300 litres of water? Luckily there’s a few ways in which you can reduce the amount of water you use. Switch out the hose for a sponge and two buckets of water – one filled with warm soapy water (use minimal soap to make rinsing easier) and the second filled with clean water. To rinse off, use a large sponge with the clean water for minimal waste (you could also swap the second bucket for a watering can to make rinsing off a doddle).
For best results, wash your car in a shady spot so your soapy water doesn’t dry on your car before you’ve had a chance to rinse it off, which will take up more water.
If there’s a particularly intense heatwave in your area and there’s a hosepipe ban in place, think about just cleaning your windows to keep visibility clear and washing your registration plate to keep that visible. Everything else can wait until the rain comes back and the ban is lifted.
Did you know you can now also get waterless car wash, which is fantastic as all you need is a cloth to wipe it (and all the dust) off without using any water at all!
2. Save water in the garden
If you don’t keep on top of watering the garden you can quickly find yourself with a brown, barren landscape but there’s a few handy ways you can keep your plants hydrated without using too much water.
Always water your garden in the evening when the sun’s gone down, or very early in the morning. This will allow the water to get down to the roots of your plants, whereas in the heat of the day it can often evaporate before it’s had a chance to move below the surface. Get to know your plants, do your research and work out which plants can thrive with a lack of water so that you can concentrate your efforts elsewhere.
Investing in a water butt can be a lifesaver for storing up rainwater – with the added bonus that plants thrive far more with rainwater than tap water as it fewer chemicals in it.
Re-use cooled bath water or washing up water (grey water) to water plants as long as its not laced with strong detergents or household cleaning agents and isn’t too greasy. Water directly on the base of the plant and avoid the leaves for best results.
After a good downpour of rain, try mulching your plants (heavy compost, bark chippings, straw and even grass cuttings are perfect) as this will help lock in moisture ready for drier spells.Take a look at our blog on how to best water the garden for even more advice.
When cooking veggies, always make sure your water just covers the top of the veg – any more is a waste of water and will also take longer to boil up. Same goes for when you’re making a cuppa, use the water indicator on your kettle to make sure you’re boiling the right amount for however many brews you’re making.
4. Spend less time showering
Taking a shower over having a bath definitely saves water but be sure to be considerate of the amount of time you actually spend in the shower too. It’s surprising how quickly you can rack up several litres of water in the shower. Try setting yourself a timer or listening to music to better measure how long you’re spending in the shower – shaving just a couple of minutes off a day will make a big difference.
5. Wait until you have a full load to do the washing
When you’re doing the washing, wait until you’ve got a full load before putting the wash on. You can even get brave and throw whites and darks in at the same time if you use a colour catcher!
Same goes for the dishwasher – make sure you have a full load before turning it on. With a full load, your dishwasher actually uses less water than equivalent water needed to do the washing up.
6. Turn off the tap
Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth – this can save up to 6 litres of water per minute!
Can’t go without cool drinking water? Fill a jug and keep it in the fridge – this will save no end of water while you’re waiting for it to cool down coming out of the tap.
7. Wash veggies in a bowl
Use a bowl in the sink to rinse off fruit and veg rather than running the tap. This not only saves water at the time but you can also use the waste water to water the plants in your garden. Double points!