Growing up in Australia, I learnt what it was like to go through a drought. Every Aussie knows a horror story of farmers not being able to feed their crops or water their livestock. Whether shorter showers or turning the tap off when brushing our teeth, we were always schooled on innovative ways to save water. Even now a lot of Australian's don't take H2O for granted.
Although the UK and many other places don't suffer from the blistering climate of down-under, the problem is closer to home than you think. Brits, for example, are the sixth-largest water importer in the world. Only 38% of England's H2O comes from local resources. The rest is sourced from already-thirsty countries like Spain, Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan. Yep, we're already wringing out countries with limited moisture at the best of times.
Thanks (or no thanks!) to climate change and pollution, droughts are becoming more frequent. We've all seen footage of the polar ice-caps melting while David Attenborough commentates with grandfatherly disappointment. Those icebergs are important fresh-water reservoirs and rapidly shrinking.
Almost ninety-eight per cent of the earth's liquid is saltwater. Sayings like "water crisis" are becoming more and more common, just look at Cape Town. Conserving water is vital, no matter where you are. Even if it's the perennially overcast homeland of the Queen.
Depressing anecdotes aside, there's something we can all do to address the problem.
In the Kitchen
- Wash fruit and veg in a pot of water rather than rinsing under a running tap. We can all be a bit lazy with this one, but it helps. The average person uses 140 litres of agua per day. Read more here.
- Cook food in as little water as possible or steam your veggies rather than boil. This also helps fruit and veg to retain nutrients, which is the whole reason you eat them in the first place right? Don't wash away the good stuff!
- Simple but smart, use any leftover water or dropped ice cubes to feed household plants.
- Use a water bottle rather than cups and glasses. Maybe a Moon Bottle? Genius! This saves time on washing up too.
- Believe it or not, using a dishwasher uses less water than hand-washing. Just make sure the machine's full before turning it on. The perfect excuse for a little laziness.
- Otherwise, if you don't have a dishwasher, fill up the sink or a large washing bowl rather than running water constantly.
In The Bathroom
- Limit your shower time. Back in the drought days, we were encouraged to have one four-minute shower daily. You can go as militant as you like, but any little bit helps!
- Use the half-flush on your toilet. Or, go with the classic; if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down. We'll let you use your own decision making there!
- Turn off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving or washing your face.
- Get those leaking taps fixed please! Every drop adds up.
- If you're in a drought-stricken area or a conservation pro, collect your shower water and use it to feed your plants.
In The Laundry
- When possible, wait until you have a full load before doing the washing. Those thirsty machines love to guzzle liquid.
In The Garden
- Water plants in the early morning or evening to prevent evaporation. This will keep your plants happier and save you doing the watering multiple times a week.
- Pour H2O onto the soil and not the plant. Water needs to get to those roots rather than the leaves. Moist leaves in a hot climate can actually burn the plant and slowly kill it over time.
- Use a watering can over a hose. Even better, why not a Moon Bottle?
As always, these are up to your own discretion, but doing your bit never hurts. I'm always surprised by the little daily habits we take for granted and how a few small changes add up.
If you've got any other creative, water-saving ideas, we want to hear them!
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