If in drought … save water by going in the shower

10 October 2014 by in Lifestyle

We’re in dire straits regarding the environment. For most of us recycling has become second nature, we’re becoming aware of our carbon footprints and some of us have even seriously considered buying a hybrid car. Yet this is still not enough. The youth of today, spared from revolting about the nuclear threat as the children of the 1960s were, are now actively campaigning to save the environment.

I’m sure most of you went to university to have a great time, meet some new friends, possibly even learn a thing or two and eventually come out with a degree. However, there are others who have a different agenda. Two students at the University of East Anglia are encouraging their peers to urinate in the shower in a desperate bid to save water.

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down’ used on desperate camping trips or in times of drought, but these students believe that this is a motto to live by every day. What next – digging pits in our gardens and hoping for the best while squatting? To be serious, it is important to make an effort for the environment, so Infinite Ideas has come up with some crafty was to save water which won’t have you looking at your shower with trepidation.

Save water in the kitchen and laundry

  • One of the easiest ways to save water in the kitchen/laundry is to install a water-efficient dishwasher and washing machine and ensure that you fill them right up each time.
  • If you wash by hand, use minimum detergent to cut back on rinsing, and use a plugged sink or a bowl of water.
  • Use only as much water as you need in kettles and saucepans and you’ll cut your electricity costs at the same time as saving water.
  • Flow-controlled aerators for taps are simple devices that you fit into existing tap nozzles, which mix air with water under pressure as it emerges from the tap without affecting the flow rate. They can be bought at most DIY and bathroom stores, are inexpensive and can halve water flow.
  • Try to capture ‘warm-up’ water (i.e. the water that you run out of the hot tap while it’s coming up to temperature) for use on plants, rinsing dishes, washing fruit and vegetables, or other cleaning jobs.
  • Insulate hot water pipes so that you need to run less water before it heats up. Equally, keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator so you don’t need to run the tap until the water is cold enough.
  • Don’t use a waste-disposal unit. They use about 30 litres of water per day and send a lot of extra rubbish into the sewers. Compost what you can and bin the rest.

urinating in the showerSave water in the bathroom

  • Take showers rather than baths, and keep them short; use a timer if you have a large family. Power showers can use more water than a bath in less than five minutes, though!
  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth or shaving. A running tap uses about five litres of water per minute.
  • Install a water-efficient showerhead and toilet cistern.

Save water outside

  • Install a rainwater tank that collects runoff from roofs and gutters for garden use, or ask your local council about getting it connected to the toilet for flushing.
  • If you’re watering the garden, make sure you only water plants and lawns, not paths, paving and buildings.
  • Use a broom or rake to clean outdoor paths and paving instead of hosing them down with water.
  • If you have a pool, install a cover to reduce evaporation, and persuade pool users to cut back on over-exuberant splashing.
  • Wash your car sparingly, reusing a bucket of water from inside rather than turning on the hose (or, even worse, the power washer), or if you don’t have to drive too far visit a commercial car wash that recycles wash water.

From Save the planet by Natalia Marshall, which has hundreds of other ideas for conserving your environment.