Conserving Water

  • 16 March 2011
  • Home Energy Centre
Myth: There is no need to conserve water in New Zealand

Excessive fresh water use comes at a cost to you and to the environment. Even areas of high rainfall, (such as the West Coast of the South Island), face the cost of filtering and supplying clean water. Areas such as Canterbury are facing even more issues due to the low rainfall.

Using less water saves you money. Your rates pay for maintaining and upgrading water and waste water services – if you use less, these costs go down. Councils spend about a third of their annual operating budgets delivering and disposing of water. The costs of upgrading or building new water management systems will rise in future.

And if we use less water, we protect the environment from the harmful effects of drawing clean water and disposing of waste water. Up to 2% of the water delivered to your home is used for drinking or cooking - the rest gets flushed into the waste water system. If we produce less waste water, we lower the risk of leaks or spills that can foul streams, rivers, lakes and beaches.

Fortunately there are many simple things that can reduce those financial and environmental cost.

Here are some small tips that will help you to achieve this goal.

Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
A tap can discharge up to 18 litres of water per minute. That’s the equivalent of more than a bucket of water if you left the tap going while brushing your teeth for just one minute. Try using a glass of water to rinse and use the tap just when needed.

Put a plug in the sink when you wash or shave.
A running tap can discharge up to 10 litres of water per minute - that’s the equivalent of one whole bucket!

Keep track of your shower time; try to shower for 5 minutes or less.
Keeping track of your shower time can have a big impact on water use, even a low flow shower head can use about 35 litres of water per 5 minute shower.

Save water — put a brick in the toilet cistern and reduce its water capacity.
Save water and adjust your toilet to reduce the amount of water in the cistern.

Save water and use a bucket to wash your car.
Using a bucket to clean the car and a hose to rinse it off uses less water.

If possible, wash the car on the lawn.
Washing the car on the lawn waters the grass and stops detergent going down stormwater drains.

Use your dishwasher and/or washing machine on full loads.
A full load uses less water and energy per kilogram than a partial one. Try to only use these appliances when they’re full to save overall water use.

Consider taking a shower instead of a bath.
Short showers use less energy and water than baths. You can save even more by fitting a low flow shower head.

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