Conserving water

Did you know that Canadians rank second only to the United States in terms of highest per capita water use in the developed world? Water is an important resource, and we all need to do our part to conserve it. Do we really need to have the greenest lawn on the block? Or, hot showers can feel great once in a while, but a quick shower can get you just as clean.

If you’d like to reduce your water consumption and help conserve our most valuable resource, try following these tips:

  • Repair any plumbing leaks in your home. Several litres of water can be lost per day! If you’re an experienced handyman and the repairs are minor, you can save some money by doing the repairs yourself. Of course, some repairs will require the expertise of a seasoned plumber. It’s never a bad idea to have a professional check out the leak first.
  • Install a low-flow faucet aerator, in your kitchen and bathroom sinks. This can cut your water use in half and you won’t notice much of a difference.
  • Add a float booster or ballast to older toilets. Older toilets can use as much as 5 gallons per flush, often unnecessarily. Adding ballast to some toilets can reduce the amount of water used without affecting flush performance.
  • Fill your sink with water to wash fruits and vegetables, instead of holding them under running water.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it’s full. You could also choose a short cycle or install a high-efficiency model.
  • Replace your showerhead with a low-flow version. This can reduce your water use by 25%. And reduce your shower time! Try to keep it to 5 minutes. If you floss, brush your teeth, or shave in the shower, consider turning the water off while doing so.
  • Turn the tap water off when brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face.
  • Adjust your washing machine setting to the actual size of the laundry load. If you’re buying a new machine, go for an energy efficient, front loading model. These use 40% less energy than conventional top-loading machines.
  • Water your lawn, not your sidewalks and driveway. And don’t overwater! 2 to 3 centimetres per week is sufficient. Try to water your lawn early in the morning, or late in the evening, so less water evaporates in the hot sun.
  • Wash your car less frequently. If you wash it yourself, use a bucket with a sponge. Just turn on the hose to rinse off when you’re finished.
  • Watch your water bill for unusual patterns. Leaky fixtures may be hard to notice, but your bill will provide a clear snapshot of your water usage. If it changes dramatically, you might want to look for the source.
  • Install a rain barrel instead of sending your gutters straight into the ditch. Rainwater can be used to water outdoor plants.
  • Insulate your water pipes – both hot and cold! This way, you won’t waste as much water by running your taps to get hot or cold water when you need it.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge. This will ensure a supply of fresh, cool water on hand without having to run the tap, and it also allows time for chlorine and other chemicals to evaporate out of the water, improving the taste!
  • Plant low-water lawns and shrubs when possible, to reduce your need to water them.

If you’re interested in installing water efficient appliances, it’s worthwhile to research if there are any rebates or incentives available to you. For example, the Government of Canada has a website outlining different programs. You don’t need to make several drastic changes to help make an impact. By slightly adjusting your everyday routine to use less water, you’ll be making a big difference over time.

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