Summer 2019/20 may be less than two months yet but already its bite is being felt up and down the country.
While those living in regional areas have been enduring devastating consequences as a result of being unable to access sufficient water, those in metropolitan areas have been relatively unscathed – until now.
With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a long hot summer ahead, with no significant rain forecast, parts of NSW and Queensland have now introduced tiered water restrictions as a means of helping to conserve this most precious of resources.
For some this will result in changes to the way or the times they are allowed to wash their cars or water their gardens or plants, while for others it will mean a reduction in their personal water use limits. Big fines will be given to anyone found to be disobeying restrictions with individuals being slapped with $220 while offending businesses can get fines of up to $550 or more.
Riverina Water says current water consumption levels vary throughout Australia however average daily water use ranges from as little as 100 litres per person in some coastal areas to more than 800 litres per person in the dry inland areas.
The current average daily water consumption is 340 litres per person, or 900 litres per household. In addition, an average of 150 litres of water per person is used every day in the workplace by industry and commerce, community uses such as watering of public parks and gardens, firefighting and system leakage.
Changing our behaviours now can make a big difference for everyone’s future and everyone needs to do their bit to ensure their water use is more sustainable.
There are many things those living in strata can do to help reduce the amount of water they consume – whether voluntarily or because they are required to adhere to water restrictions imposed on the area where they live.
It may seem obvious but electing to thaw frozen foods in the fridge or microwave instead of under running water is a great way to reduce the amount of water you are using, as is setting the fan setting instead of cooling feature if you have air conditioning.
For many it may be considered a bit sacrifice but try giving up your regular night time baths and opting for a shower instead. Enhance the benefits further by setting an alarm for your showers to limit each one to three or four minutes, or removing your old showerhead and taps, and replacing them with low-flow models instead.
You could also try placing a bucket in your shower to capture run off water and then using it to water your plants or wash your clothes. Another great option is to turn off the bathroom tap while brushing your teeth or having a shave.
While it may sound extreme, for those who like to wash their hair regularly, you could consider shampooing and conditioning your hair in the kitchen sink instead of the shower to help cut down on the amount of water you are using.
Other options include waiting until your dishwasher or washing machine is fully loaded before you turn it on or washing your vegetables and rinsing dishes in a plugged sink or basin – not under a running tap. If you drop ice cubes on the floor, it might be a good idea to put them in your pot plants instead of the sink.
One of the biggest causes of excess water usage in private dwellings such as apartments or townhouses is when there are unchecked leaks around your home. One leaking tap can waste up to 2,000 litres a month so it’s important to regularly check your plumbing around the wet areas in your strata residence – such as your bathroom, kitchen and laundry, to ensure any leaks that waste water are swiftly detected and fixed.
10 top water saving tips
- defrost food in the fridge or microwave, not under running water
- set air conditioner to the fan setting instead of cooling
- replace baths with quick showers and set a 3 minute alarm
- remove old showerheads and taps with low-flow models
- capture shower run off in a bucket to water plants or lawn
- turn off bathroom tap while brushing teeth or shaving
- for frequent hair washers try washing in kitchen sink
- fully load dishwasher or washing machine before turning on
- wash vegetables or rinse dishes in a plugged sink or basin
- fix any leaking taps