Firstly, thanks to Emma for choosing this week's topic. This is definitely something that we should all be concerned about as water is so vital and without it - well, we die! We have made some changes in the Contented household over the last few years - apparently, here in the South East there is less water available per person than in Sudan & Syria! These are the changes we've made so far:
* Not leaving the tap running whilst brushing teeth
* Also not leaving the tap running when washing the dishes - I used to have the tap running the whole time so I could rinse things before putting them on the drainer! I dread to think how much water was wasted over the years! Now, I only turn on the tap to rinse specific items (like glasses or cups - if you've ever poured yourself a glass of water and taken a swig that tastes of washing up liquid, you'll know what I mean!)
* Only using the washing machine on a full load
* Only filling the kettle with the amount of water needed
* We have a water bag in the toilet cistern
* This next one might be a step too far for some people, but I'm going to put my neck on the line and tell you that - we don't flush the toilet after every use! Have you heard the little rhyme? If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down! Well, that's kind of what we do. We don't leave it all day, but instead only flush, maybe once every three uses? Obviously, anything unpleasant does get flushed straight down, and if there are guests in the house I do flush it every time as well, but we must have saved an enormous amount of water by doing this. The trick, I think, is to keep the loo spotlessly clean (no mean feat with three males in the house!) and to keep the lid shut too.
* Taking short, sharp showers. I'm pretty quick in the shower and I'm also trying to get into the habit of not shaving my legs in there either - it's more convenient than using a basin full of water but think how much water is just pouring down the plughole while you're doing it?
I also think it's really important to think about what we put INTO our water as well. The more "contaminated" our water is when it goes down the drain, the more treatment is required to make it clean and usable again and the more risk there is of that "contamination" escaping into the eco-system and harming our wildlife, or even of being pumped out of a sewage overflow pipe and onto our beaches. So we're back to the subject of using eco friendly products (shampoo, shower gel, washing powder, washing up liquid, toilet cleaner etc) again! Don't pour cooking oil (whether it's from frying or from a tin of tuna) down the drain either - although it's a food product, it can really damage wildlife if it gets into our rivers. (What do you do with it then? Good question. Our local council recommended that we collect it in an old bottle then wrap the bottle in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the household rubbish. I'd love to know if there's a better solution). Ok, gone slightly off at a tangent there, but you get the picture!
On the Act On CO2 website there's a great little gizmo to calculate how much water you could save if you made some simple changes. So, how much can you save?