When I was married and pregnant I lived in Sydney. I had 3 adults and 2 kids in your typical 3 bedroom home with a decent sized garden. Our water usage was the equivalent of your average 1 person home.
I live in an apartment now, but I have always had ridiculously low water bills according to everyone else. Here is how I do it plus things I used to do to get it lower (I am too lazy now to do all of them). My parents taught me a lot of these. Mum grew up on a farm in southern Tassie and if you ran out of water that was it!
1.) Fix all leaks
If you have any leaks in your home, get them fixed fast! Washers are simple to replace on taps and many other small leaks can be fixed easily without the plumber. Leaving leaks can send your bills through the roof, not to mention cause damage to the house which will cost even more.
2.) Water smart devices
Change your showerhead to a water saving one, reduce water flow on other taps and when you need to upgrade your washing machine, dishwasher or any appliance that requires water, go for the water smart and energy efficient ones.
3.) Short showers
Get a timer and reduce the time you spend in showers. Get in, get your hair wet, lather it up with shampoo, wash your body, rinse the shampoo, condition your hair and get out.
When we were really broke and the bills terrified me I would get wet in the shower, turn it off and lather up my hair and body. Turn the shower on to rinse, then off to condition my hair then on again to rinse. I used barely any water but was clean.
4.) Reuse water
How extreme you want to be with this is up to you. I don’t do any of these but I know people who do.
– Redirect the water from your washing machine to your lawn. It waters your lawn to keep it green without using extra water.
– Use the water vegetables are cooked in for risotto or making stock.
– Redirect bath and shower water to your lawn where possible.
– Use bath and shower water for the toilet. I don’t know if this will damage your toilet or anything. Turn off the tap for the toilet to refill and would put the bath water into the toilet cistern to use for flushing.
– Catch the first bits of water in a bucket. When you turn on the shower and are waiting for it to heat up, catch the first cold part of the water in a bucket and use it for the garden, for cleaning, soaking clothes, anything like that.
Use buckets of water. You can catch water when it rains and use it for watering the garden.
5.) Change how you use water
We use water for so much. Here are a few things you can change how you do it to save water:
Growing up, we filled the sink with water and shaved that way. It never occurred to me to shave in the shower or to have a tap constantly running whilst shaving. Now, I shave in the shower because it’s easier, also because when I injured my back I needed help with it and the shower was easiest for us both, so I got in that habit, but it does use more water.
If you are a guy and shave your face you could use an electric razor.
If you use a dishwasher make sure you have stacked the dishes correctly and are washing with a full load. Keep the dishwasher clean by ensuring the filters are cleaned out and run vinegar through it occasionally to help clean residue. Dishes need to be rinsed for a dishwasher to work effectively too.
If you are washing by hand, wash as soon as the dishes are dirty instead of letting them sit there and the food going hard. Scrape any scraps into the bin and try to be as efficient as possible with washing the dishes. We now put all the dishes in the sink, I wash with running water and a hand scrubber quickly. Dishes are done as they are used, my hands are never in a sink of dishes and my kids learnt to wash after themselves this way too.
Use cold water instead of hot for washing your clothes. Use a water saving washing machine. Reduce the amount of washing powder you use and use the appropriate setting for your washing. For example, use easy iron for shirts, quick wash for clothes that don’t need a deep clean and use the eco wash button on your machine to save more water and electricity.
Be one of those couples that save water by showering together!
When you need to wash fruits or vegetables, do it in a sing with water or a container of water instead of holding them under running water. My preference has been to soak them in water and vinegar to remove as much as I can from their surface. Dry and store as needed.
How do you reduce your water bill?