As the temperatures rise in summer, some of us are already looking for ways to save water, both inside and outside our home. We’ve got some great tips on how you can get started.
There are many reasons for paying attention to water conservation, even in wet rainy Ireland!
Why Conserve Water in Ireland?
Did you know that according to Irish Water, the average water use of one person is 133 litres per day, including leakage!
Here are some reasons we should consider saving water in our homes and properties.
- A genuine concern for the environment should be enough to propel us to take water conservation seriously as the world faces climate change and global warming
- More precisely, in Ireland, the infrastructure here does not exist to cope with hot weather with increased water demand - we may have the odd spell of rationing or restricted water services when summer drought conditions
- In the face of potential water shortages and possible inflation, the state may be tempted to charge for water in the future - it would make sense to build water-saving practices and devices into your home.
Online Water Saving Resources
The Irish Water website has excellent advice on how we can save water.
They have even built a water calculator for us to use. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your water usage habits. Their calculations are based on the water use of a typical household of the same size.
Check for Leaks and Stop them!
The first step to stopping water from leaking in your home is to find them in the first place.
Water conservation is also critical in stopping more significant problems from happening in the medium term, like structural damage to your walls, dampness and the accumulation of harmful mould and mildew in your home.
Stop Leaks inside your home.
There are critical areas inside your home that you should be checking for leaks.
The toilet cistern is usually an unseen water source being leaked either through faulty pipes or a faulty cistern cock. If there is a constant sound of water trickling from the toilet cisterns, you’ll probably spot a stream of water running uninterrupted inside the toilet bowl
The attic water storage tank is another feature in most homes with more than one floor. If you can hear a constant hum or sound of water refilling without end when there is no water running in the house, do investigate! The water may leak out of your house through the overflow pipes leading from the water storage tank out through the external wall on the side of your home
Check all internal taps - did you know that a dripping faucet can waste enough water to fill 20 bathtubs in just one year? Repair them with new washers and tighten joints
Check all water-consuming appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine. Leaky supply hoses or fractured joints may be wasting water and damaging your property in places that are hard to detect until it's too late
- Keep an eye on your taps - and be sure to restore or replace any constantly dripping fixtures
Stop Leaks outdoors and in your garden.
Check all external garden taps for leaks and tighten fittings to stop further leakages
- There may be a garden hose running a leak along its length without you knowing, so it may be wise to turn the tap off at the source
- If you suspect a leak on your external water supply pipe, you may qualify for The First Fix Free scheme - get in touch with Irish Water to find out more
Water-Saving Hacks and Devices
Now that you’ve stopped the unnecessary leaks, there are ways you can monitor usage and implement water-saving devices.
- If you want to monitor water usage in your home, consider asking for a water meter or applying one yourself. There is some good advice on Irish Water Meters on the Utility Regulators’ Website
- As bathing, hosting, cleaning, and showering can consume a lot of water in a short space of time - here are some options for bathrooms and taps.
- Use a shower timer to keep showers less than 20 min long
- Use a well-designed shower head nozzle that optimises water flow for spread and pressure. For example, the Mira Logic Handset has a 4 Spray Showerhead that incorporates a water-saving economy setting. You can rub clean rubber nozzles for easy cleaning, and it has rubberised finger grips for ease of use
- An aerator top or showerhead pumps air into the water flow to maximise pressure and reduce the water required to clean a surface
- A lot of toilet water in the cistern may be excessive for a single flush
- Install a filled plastic bottle or a toilet cistern bag to reduce the amount used in each flush
- Or source a toilet fighting with a dual cistern flush so you can regulate how much you use depending on need or retrofit one to your existing bathroom suite
Car washing can consume much water using a hose - be sure to substitute a bucket and sponge
When in doubt - just contact your plumber or check in with them the next time they are back to service your boiler etc.
Find out what the best fittings and devices would fit your home appliances. Then, if they see a need to replace any faulty fixtures- do take their advice.
Develop a Water Efficient Garden
There are many ways to make water go further in your garden.
- Opt for a watering can instead of a gardening hose to use your water more efficiently when watering
- You can also use a high-precision sprayer such a Garden Knapsack Sprayer. This self-contained unit is not tied to the mains. Use it for water, fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides. It has a fully adjustable nozzle and trigger lock and can also be used for spray cleaning detergents or cleaning large areas outside
- If you have leftover grey water from cooking rice or washing vegetables, try your best not to lose it down the sinkhole - capture it for watering houseplants and the garden pots
Reduce the amount of water evaporating from the ground by doing a few simple things
- Water your plant in the evenings or early morning away from the hot sun, so water is not lost from the ground through evaporation
- Place loose mulch on the surfaces of beds to retain moisture in the ground and save the ground from frost too
- Place potted plants underneath Window boxes or hanging planters so they can catch the water run off when watering
- Good use of healthy natural compost will retain moisture for longer in the soil and lead to less wasted run-off when watering
Ways to Harvest Water
Why not add your resource of grey water harvested from rain? Use it to supplement the watering and cleaning needs of your garden and outdoors.
Harvested water is perfect for watering your garden. Use it to wash cars and windows too.
- Invest in a water butt. It can be positioned to catch the run-off rainwater from your roof and gutters within your property. Harvested water may also be used for watering your garden