Water conservation has become paramount in the world today, as more and more areas continue to struggle with drought due to climatic conditions coupled with heavy pollution of raw water sources by unorthodox practices.
I always say that climate change is a phenomenon we can no longer gloss over, as its effects have become increasingly evident worldwide.
It has been established by researchers that Africa will be the worst-stricken continent by the impacts of climate change in the world. This, according to a report (the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel Report) on climate change, is due to the geographical position of our continent and its limited adaptive capacity – exacerbated by widespread poverty and the existing low levels of development.
Reports such as this should give us reason to reconsider the way we protect our environment, of which our water-bodies are a vital part.
Currently, we may not be living in a drought-stricken region – but cutting back on water use as individuals means contributing our quota to saving the environment.
Apart from being concerned about the environment, this article is mainly meant to promote water conservation on the home-front as well as help water users to lower their utility bills.
There are lots of big and small ways to conserve water in and around the home, and although you may not be able to practice everything written here, the few small changes you make can help save hundreds of gallons of water each year as well as help reduce your water bills.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
According to nationalgeographic.com, water comes out of the average faucet at 2.5 gallons per minute. Don’t let all that water go down the drain while you brush. Turn off the faucet after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it is time to rinse.
- Turn off the tap while washing your hands
Do you need the water to run while you are scrubbing your hands? Save a few gallons of water and turn the faucet off after you wet your hands until you need to rinse.
- Do you need to flush every time – especially with every drop of urine? This tip might not be for everyone, but the toilet is one of the most water-intensive fixtures in the house. Take a decision.
- Keep an eye on your bill
If your water bill goes up suddenly, there is a good chance that a leak is the culprit. Call in a plumber to check your lines to save water and cash.
- Fix your leaks
Fixing leaky faucets can mean big water savings. Check your faucets at home. Do any of them drip? One gallon = 15,140 drips, One litre = 4,000 drips (www.usg.gov).
- Go to the car wash
If you feel compelled to wash your car, take it to a car washing bay rather than washing it at home with the hose. The washing bay uses more pressure than water.
- Cut your showers short
Older shower heads can use as much as 5 gallons of water per minute (3epa.gov). Speed things up in the shower for some serious water savings.
- Choose efficient fixtures
Investing in low-flow toilets, choosing efficient shower heads and washing machines can add up to big water savings.
- Harvest rainwater
Rainwater can be used to keep your lawns hydrated.
- Water plants in the morning
Researchers say the morning is the best time to water your lawn. The air is cooler and there is usually not much wind to blow away the droplets. In the middle of the day, water evaporates too quickly. And in the evenings water can cling to the blades of grass overnight, which can cause lawn diseases. Between 4am. and 10am is recommended. Experts say watering at night is about the worst thing to do for a lawn.
- When washing dishes, fill up your sink with water instead of letting it run the whole time that you are scrubbing.
- Re-use greywater
According to Sustainable Earth Technlologies, Greywater can be defined as any domestic wastewater produced excluding sewage. This include the waste water from the clothes, dishes and other items you wash at home. Re-route the runoff from your washing machine and use that water for things like flushing the toilet or watering the lawn.
If indeed we believe that little drops of water make a mighty ocean and a journey with a thousand miles begins with a step, then let us make the little changes to make great water savings.
Writer’s e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
(The writer is a Communications Manager with Ghana Water Company Limited