WATER CONSUMPTION IN THE HOME
Fix dripping hot taps: save up to 100 kilograms of greenhouse gas each year for each tap.
If the overflow pipe from a hot water service dumps more than a bucket of water each day, call a plumber and save hundreds of kilograms of greenhouse gas each year.
When using a mixer tap for cold water, position the lever as far right as possible. Otherwise you will be wasting hot water, as most mixer taps begin blending hot water with cold as soon as they are moved from the ‘hard right’ position.
If you have gas hot water, you save about 33 kilograms of greenhouse gas, Solar water heating can generate even lower greenhouse gas emissions.
When installing a hot water service, position it so that pipes to outlets used a lot are as short as possible. This will minimise water, energy and time. Long pipes can waste thousands of litres of water and half a tonne of greenhouse gas each year.
Avoid installing a continuously circulating hot water pipe loop. They waste large amounts of heat and cost a lot to run. If long pipes can’t be avoided, investigate the use of ‘on-demand’ pumps.
Ensure exposed hot water pipes are well insulated, with insulation at least 10 mm thick.
Which hot water service will you use ?
Avoid 5 minutes of hot water rinsing every day saves half a tonne of greenhouse gas each year. Water efficient taps can also save hot water and greenhouse gas: save up to a kilogram of greenhouse gas for every five minutes of tap use.
Showers are the biggest user of hot water in most homes. Install a 3 star rated water-efficient showerhead and save more than half a tonne of greenhouse gas each year if you have an electric hot water service.
Take shorter showers: save up to half a kilogram of greenhouse gas for every minute.
Avoid using small amounts of hot water if cold water will do. Each time you turn on the hot water tap, a litre or more of cold water that had been heated but has cooled in the pipes runs down the sink before hot water is delivered. Doing this just 10 times a day will generate about 200 kilograms of greenhouse gas each year if you have electric hot water.
Avoid rinsing dishes under running hot water: it uses far more hot water than putting the plug in and using some water in the sink—and often the job can be done by scraping or rinsing with cold water.
If you’re going away for more than a few days, switch off your hot water systems and save 1.4 kilograms per day you are away.
Every 15 litres of hot water used from an electric water heater generates about one kilogram of greenhouse gas.
Buying an energy-efficient water heater that uses a low greenhouse impact fuel is a great start to saving greenhouse gases.
Gas water heaters carry energy labels to help you choose an efficient model. Avoid units with continuous pilot lights and save $40 and 200 kilograms of greenhouse gas each year.
When selecting a hot water system, ensure its size suits your needs
If you have a solar hot water service, switch off the booster in the sunny months.
Electric hot water service units made since 1999 lose 30% less heat because of Minimum Energy Performance Standards.
gas emissions from an electric HWS (based on 140 litres
usage per day)
Reduce heat losses from an electric storage heater by wrapping the tank with extra insulation: save up to half a tonne of greenhouse gas each year. An insulated outdoor unit will need to be protected from the weather.
Australian households had a "water footprint" equivalent to 341,000 litres per person per year. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007
Water use 2000-01- Australian economy consumes 50 Sydney harbour's
Australian households and businesses consumed the equivalent of almost 50 times the volume of Sydney Harbour (24,909 gigalitres GL) according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Water is essential to all life on earth. It is also essential to our lifestyle, to our industries and to the well-being of our communities. Population growth has led to the consumption of greater amounts of water — and the per capita consumption has also been increasing at an average rate of 3% per annum for the last 100 years.
‘23% of domestic water consumption …occurs in the garden.’
The Seven Key Principles used to save garden water are :
• Planning and designing gardens for local conditions and micro-climates
• Careful analysis and improvement of soils
• Reducing lawn areas
• Designing and implementing efficient watering systems
• Choosing appropriate plants
• Appropriate maintenance
Reduce Lawn Areas and You Can Reduce Water Usage
Lawn is the thirstiest part of the garden. There are many ways by which water consumption on lawns can be reduced. You could:
Do away with lawns altogether, and replace them with paving gravel, or lawn alternative such as native grasses
Choose to let your lawn dry off when there is no rainfall. The great virtue of grass ~ it soon greens up again
Shape your lawn to allow it to be irrigated efficiently by a single pop-up sprayer
Apply a wetting agent to improve water penetration.
Use a subterranean drip irrigation* system
The use of mulches is an essential step in water conservation. Mulch is a layer of material applied as a surface dressing
to garden soils in order to reduce water loss through evaporation. Organic mulches are preferred since:
• They can be incorporated into the soil to improve structure, water-holding and water absorption.
• They encourage micro-organisms and worm activity in the soil and thus its fertility.
• They can be weed-suppressing.
• They allow the passage of rain-water into the soil.
Design and Implement an Efficient Watering System
Applying supplementary water to your garden to ensure its good health and vigour is not wrong, but water should be applied efficiently and at appropriate times. Consider these pointers to efficient irrigation:
Divide your garden into zones, only watering those when absolutely necessary
Apply irrigation using drip systems installed at ground-level.
Apply water at morning and evening when the sun is low in the sky so that evaporation is reduced.
Cover your irrigation pipe with mulch, again reducing evaporation.
The efficiencies of drip irrigation can be enhanced by installing a rain water tank in your garden (large ones can be placed underground beneath paving)
Or utilize grey water
Plan your garden firstly for food plants and then for drought resistant plants –use Australian Natives
DID YOU KNOW? Some surprising facts about water
About 80% of the world is covered by water or ice.
Only 1% of the world's water is suitable for human needs (97% is salt water in the ocean and 2% is ice).
Less than 1% of the treated drinking water produced by water authorities is actually consumed by people. Most is used for lawns, showers, toilets, laundry, etc.
Your washing machine and dishwasher cost you $1 per load including water, energy, detergent and machine wear costs.
Areas of average domestic usage Average Reticulated Water Usage
Domestic water use comprises indoor and outdoor usage.
Average daily water use ranges from as little as 100 litres per person in some coastal areas to more than 800 litres per person in the dry inland areas.
The current average daily water consumption is 340 litres per person, or 900 litres per household.
In addition, an average of 150 litres of water per person is used every day in the workplace by industry and commerce, community uses such as watering of public parks and gardens, firefighting and system leakage.
How much water is used, in general household activities?
flush(single flush cistern)
Key Changes Needed
To have an integrated urban water supply system where local and household rain catching systems in the suburbs are legitimate and economic components of mains supply ~ tanks
To have proper regulations for local and household water re-use systems in the suburbs (e.g. greywater garden irrigation, reed bed water treatment beds)
To have local and household water run-off retention systems as legitimate components of storm-water systems in the suburbs ( e.g. converting barrel drains back to natural wetlands.)
To include best practice training for the installation and maintenance of these systems in building, plumbing, engineering, architecture, town planning, environmental health and landscape gardening professions.
Install water re- use systems for greywater Used water from shower, bath, basins and clothes washing machine is piped to garden and dispersed through an absorption trench
Toilet Flush from Clothes Washing Machine Washing machine discharges water to small external greywater holding tank.
water - Install grey water treatment system for garden