Water Saving Tips

Wicklow County Council has part funded the Taptips campaign run by Dublin City Council. You can visit the taptips website at Taptips to learn how to save water in your home, your workplace and in your school. It is also very interesting to visit sites like www.target.com.au to see how they are coping with drought in Queensland, Australia.

Wicklow County Council has undertaken to reduce the water it uses in its main buildings. A water demand report was produced in 2007 and the recommendations have almost all be carried out.

Below are some general tips for conserving water in the home

The user makes a choice about how much water to use and a full flush can be given where required. The contact is info@meconwml.com or Tel 01 285 2332. You could also use a Hippo Bag, which does the same thing as the milk bottle by reducing the amount of water each flush uses.

Information on the hippo is on www.thameswateruk.co.uk/waterwise/hippo/hippo.htm

  1. Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.
  2. Ensure that your home is leak-free, because many homes have hidden water leaks. If you have a meter read it before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
  3. Repair dripping taps by replacing washers. If your tap is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year which will add to the cost of water and sewer utilities, or strain your septic system.
  4. Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food colouring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, colour will appear within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food colouring may stain tank.

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Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the bin rather than the toilet. Install a simple water saving device in the toilet. Use of a two-litre milk bottle, filled with water and placed in the cistern to limit the amount of water used in every flush. Mecon Water Management Limited install water stops that stop the flow of water when a button is pressed. They are easy to install and cost about €16 each.

Take shorter showers. Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version. Some units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs.

Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by putting the stopper in the tub first before turning water and filling only 1/3 full. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed by adding hot water later. Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin. Retrofit all wasteful household taps by installing aerators with flow restrictors. Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or properly set the water level for the size of load you are using. When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the tap. Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water. Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or by using the defrost setting on your microwave

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Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost bin as an alternate method of disposing food waste instead of using a waste disposal. Waste disposals also can add 50% to the volume of solids in a septic tank, which can lead to malfunctions and maintenance problems. Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce heating costs for your household. Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up. Never install a water-to-air heat pump or air-conditioning system. Air-to-air models are just as efficient and do not waste water. Install water-softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on holiday. Check your pump. If you have a well at your home, listen to see if the pump kicks on and off while the water is not in use. If it does, you have a leak. When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water flow up, try turning it down. If the water is too hot or cold, turn the offender down rather than increasing water flow to balance the temperatures. If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.

Below are some water conservation tips for your garden

Wise use of water for garden and lawn watering not only helps protect the environment, but saves money and provides for optimum growing conditions. Simple ways of reducing the amount of water used for irrigation include:

  1. Growing xerophytic species (plants that are adapted to dry conditions),
  2. Mulching,
  3. Adding water retaining organic matter to the soil,
  4. Installing windbreaks and fences to slow winds and reduce evaporation.
  5. Watering in the early morning before the sun is intense helps reduce the water lost from evaporation.
  6. Installing rain gutters and collecting water from downspouts also helps reduce water use.

Log on to www.conservation.ie/watercons.htm for more information or Green Home