With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley.
In recent months we have seen an upswing in environmental concern; some of this is more credible than other interests, and other aspects are far less likely. But, one area that most scientists seem to agree on is a scarcity of water in the near future in every region of the world. Many of us consider water to be a constant resource delivered to our homes, and we don’t tend to think about where it comes from unless there is some sort of problem. Sadly, water is a finite resource; it has to be carefully managed, and we need to adapt our way of thinking to a water conservation mindset as we go forward.
A Brief Overview
Adopting a water conservation strategy helps to limit the effects of pollution in nearby streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Using less water also reduces the demands on water treatment plants, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions considerably. An overloaded municipal sewage system can also cause untreated sewage to leak into our waterways, leading to further pollution. So, with less water that’s flowing through these systems, these risks are considerably reduced. In certain communities, these types of strategies have been used successfully to reduce household water use and promote water conservation. From a practical perspective, water conservation also makes good financial sense; when you use less water, you can also save money on your utility bills.
4 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home
- Toilet Flushing
The toilet is one of the most wasteful areas in terms of water usage, and making some simple changes can make a major difference. The first thing that you need to do is avoid flushing small pieces of trash away in your toilet. Every time a cigarette butt or a wipe is flushed away, a huge quantity of water is used. Flushing anything except human waste and toilet paper is bad for your toilet too, and it can cause clogs that could be expensive to remove. If you have any trash, recycle it when possible or place it in the garbage where it belongs.
The volume of water used in flushing can be modified in a couple of ways to conserve water. Firstly, you can carefully place a filled plastic bottle of water into the water toilet tank, and this will displace the same volume of water to reduce the amount used when you flush. A better method to achieve the same results is to buy a float booster; they are inexpensive, and they work in a similar manner to the plastic bottle trick. Using either of these water conservation approaches could save as much as 45 litres of water each day in an average household. But, there are two things to look out for; the toilet tank must have at least 13.5 litres of water to flush correctly, and if you place anything in the tank, it must be kept clear of the flushing mechanism.
An adjustable toilet flapper can be installed in many modern toilets to adjust the volume of water used for each flushing operation. When the user wants to flush the toilet, they can adjust the flush down to the minimum possible per flush setting if that will get the job done. The flush can be adjusted upwards if a more substantial flush is required, and this system will allow you to get the exact flush you need each time without using more water than you need.
- Upgrading Toilets
If you’re really committed to conserving water, you may want to consider installing a low or dual flush toilet in your home. The latest ultra-low volume toilets can flush effectively using only 7.5 litres of water. In many homes, this would equate to an overall saving of 70% in water, and the indoor water use can be reduced by almost 30%.
A dual flush toilet is a more affordable option that can cut water use significantly. A dual flush toilet or a converter to modify a standard toilet to perform the same function could save an average home 68,000 litres of water annually. For most flushing operations, 70% less water will be needed, and this will add up to an impressive saving in water use.
A final option is to install a composting toilet to cut out water use altogether. This option is not for everyone, and you need to check with your local authorities before installing one to check that they are legal in your area. These toilets use no water, and they release no waste into your waterways to create pollution.
- The Laundry
When you need to do some laundry, make sure that the washer has a full load whenever possible. Avoid the permanent press cycle because it uses an extra 20 litres of water for the additional rinsing operation. If you need to wash a partial load, make sure you adjust the water level to an appropriate level for the load size.
If your washing machine is coming to the end of its useful lifespan, you may want to consider a high efficiency model to replace it. These machines can wash a load using only 32 litres of water compared to a traditional machine that may use 145 litres. A high efficiency washing machine will cost more up front, but it will quickly pay for itself in water and energy savings. The latest Energy Star washers use around 50% less energy and 35-50% less water for each and every load.
A low flow water saving showerhead is inexpensive and simple to install. Many people like to take longer showers, but this could used 22-44 litres of water for every extra minute. A low flow showerhead will only dispense less than 11 litres per minute, reducing the water use by half.
Another option is to install a ShowerStart system to the existing showerhead. This will pause a running shower automatically when the water gets warm. So, you can get wet; the water stops while you soap up, and then you can rinse off under the water again without touching the controls.
The final option is the most simple; taking shorter showers will conserve a significant volume of water. The aforementioned cycle can be carried out by turning the water on and off as you need it for getting wet and rinsing off. This may seem trivial, but during a typical 4 minute shower, this could save as much as 90-180 litres of water. If you need to keep track of your showering times, an inexpensive shower timer can be purchased.
If you want to know more about improving your water quality and conserving water, contact your local water treatment professional today.