Water is the most precious, yet undervalued resource. It is no longer the “sure thing” as was perceived a few years ago. While the demand for water is on an exponential rise, its usable supply is continually shrinking due to pollution , declining water tables, and prolonged drought conditions.

Water is brought into our households for cooking, bathing, etc. And is returned to the environment, often to the same body of water it came from, along with several by-products of our houses.

Understanding how the water cycle operates will help us acknowledge the significant role that we can play in improving and protecting the quantity of our water resource. All that this requires is our concern and adoption of conservation practices.

A VIEW:

The less water we use, or abuse, the less we degrade this precious natural resource, and less we have to spend in bringing our water resource back to an acceptable standard for public use.

Water conservation doesn't mean cramping our life styles by doing without water ; it simply means reducing the amount of water we waste. This calls for simple application of common sense. By following the three golden rules of water conservation – reduce, repair , and retrofit – we can each easily cut our water use by half.

Reduce: It's surprising how much water gets wasted by just letting it run down the drain. For example , if brushing your teeth requires five minutes, the time needed for the tap to run may be less than a minute. Become conscious of this and other similar water loss situations.

Repair: Leaking faucets can be large water waster. A tap , leaking at a rate of only one drop per second, can waste more than 25 liters of water a day – that's about 10,000 liters a year. The larger the leak , the more the loss of water. The problem is often a worn-out washer, which costs hardly anything to replace.

Retrofit: Retrofit means adapting or replacing an older, less water efficient fixture or appliance with one of the many efficient water saving devices now on the market.

IN THE KITCHEN :

There are many small steps you can take that add up to big water savings in the kitchen.

Reduce :
  • Don't thaw frozen food under running tap, its wastage of water.
  • Clean fruits and vegetables in the partially filled sink.
  • Turn your taps off tightly (but gently) so they don't drip. And immediately repair if any leak is there.
  • If you use a dishwasher, fill it before you turn it on.
Retrofit :

Water efficient faucet aerators are a good idea in the kitchen because they reduce water flow.

Home water treatment system are a necessity in some parts of the country , but their water consumption can be considerable. Water treatment/softening system are designed to remove calcium and magnesium – the minerals that cause scaly deposits on faucets and shower heads, spots on dishes, and rings around the bathtub. But a midsize system can use about 350 liters of water every time it regenerates the softening agent. If this back flushing happens several times a month, it can add up to 10,000 liters of water flushed down the drain each year.

If you must use a water conditioning system, make sure it is the type that regenerates only when necessary, not on a fixed time or water volume basis.

Home water filtration system are designed to take impurities out of your water and make it safer to drink. They too can waste a lot of water doing their job. Reverse osmosis system, for example, return only 10% to 20% of the water that flows through them. The rest goes down the drain. Some filters cause more problems than they solve, increasing the bacteria count of the water that flows through them. Remember to change filters as recommended by the manufacturer.

IN THE BATHROOM :

Bathroom is the place where maximum water (65% of house hold use) being wasted, and it is the place where we can save the most.

Reduce :

A few water -wise habits will save you thousands of liters of water each year.

  • You can save 10 to 20 liters of water each time you shave by filling a tumbler , instead of letting the water run continuously .
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and use short bursts of water for rinsing.
  • Turn off the taps tightly, so they don't drip.
  • A quick shower uses less hot water than a bath in a full tub.
  • Don't over fill the tub, half full should be enough.
  • Flush the toilet only when necessary. Never use it as a wastebasket for tissue etc.

These are the few examples.

Repair :

The first step of repair is checking if your plumbing system is leaking. A leaking toilet can do a lot of damage to your water conservation efforts. A toilet that continues to run after flushing can waste 200000 liters of water in a single year – enough water to fill a large inground swimming pool!

If the leak in your toilet is bad enough, you can usually hear the water running. However this isn't the case with a small leak. Put some food coloring in the flush tank (cistern) and wait for about fifteen minutes. If the colour shaows up in the bowl without the aid of a flush , you've got a leak. A silent leak like this can waste up to 45 liters of water per hour.

Retrofit :

Toilets:

If your toilet is ten years old , its using about 18 liters or more water per flush.This means that over the course of a year , each of us uses about 30000 liters of fresh , pure water to dispore of only 650 liters of body waste – assuming 4 to 5 flushes per person per day.

In the bathrooms, converting to 6 liters per flush and 9.5 liters per minute showerheads (and modifying a few water using habits) could achieve an impressive 2000 liters per week savings.

Showers:

In an average the flow rate of a normal shower is 15 to 20 liters per minute. Your best bet is to install a low-flow shower head for which a 9.5 liters per minute flow rate is becoming the standard. This means a typical household could save up to 1000 liters of water each week , not to mention extra savings on the energy bill. There are two types of low-flow shower heads : aerated and nonaerated.

Car Washing : Using a running hose to wash your car , waste about 400 liters of water. Using a bucket with a sponge plus a trigger nozzle on the hose will save you about 300 of those liters. And , never clean the driveway or sidewalk with the hose. Use a rake and broom and save about 200 liters of water every time you sweep.