Here in Australia it’s been a particularly hot summer, and with increasing temperatures and dry conditions, it becomes important that we do our part in conserving our freshwater resources.
A lot of resources go into getting a drink of clean water as easily as turning on your tap. We’ve long known just how precious this resource is- living off grid and surviving from our rainwater collection has been a way of life here at Eco Food Wrap HQ for years. We’ve learned to be smart with our water usage and recycle wherever possible (such as using bathwater in the plants or for the chickens).
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and yet despite this scarcity of water, Australians are among the highest consumers of water per capita in the world. With our planet reacting to the changes that have come from climate change, rain has become more unpredictable, with less overall rainfall than years past. Record droughts and turbulent storm fronts have also affected our crops and water levels and conservation of our water sources is becoming more important than ever.
This week we take a look at a few ways we can help conserve our water!
In the home
Fix leaky taps and hoses – A slowly dripping tap can waste up to 20,000 litres a year! Not only is that a waste- for those on the grid this is also water you pay for but never use, and you can also look at trying a water saving shower head and replacing your tap fixtures.
A big water waste culprit is our humble toilet bowl- an average flush uses about 13 litres (or 5 gallons) of water so it pays to look at a dual flush, or even better, a toilet that integrates a sink into the flush mechanism, meaning the water you use to wash your hands is also the refill for your cistern. That way when it is flushed, grey water is used, rather than more fresh water. It also serves the purpose of making you aware of just how much water it takes to refill your cistern after your flush!
(Source: Carima Toilets)
And think about that for a minute: fresh, clean water, straight from a wastewater treatment facility, is pumped into the billions of flush toilets in around the world. There's no reason for that and it not only wastes the water, it wastes the considerable energy that went into cleaning and delivering that water to the building in the first place! If you can’t upgrade your toilet or you own an older toilet, you can place pebbles or a brick in the cistern, which will decrease the volume of the water flushed.
We all know how hot our taps can get, so refrigerating water for drinking can save you running out the taps for those few minutes while it gets cold again. Make sure you get a great glass or metal reusable bottle- plastic production uses a lot of water too as well as being bad for our environment, so you’re winning twice!
You can also think about installing a water tank. In many locations, installing a water tank to collect roof run off is an easy and practical way of gathering rainwater for use in the home or garden. It’s also a great first step for those wanting to eventually move off-grid. Just be sure to do some research as you will need a full tank setup for adequate water supply.
(Source: Disconnected - Life Off The Grid; YouTube)
Outside the home
Plant a ‘waterwise’ garden- many Australian natives are designed for low water environments and your local wildlife will thank you for it too. This also helps with water restrictions, which are in place in many areas of Australia. Using methods like ground cover (wood chip or mulch) or keeping grass long means that moisture stays captured in the soil.
(Source: Eco Food Wrap)
Here at Eco Food Wrap HQ we recently acquired our awesome rescue ducks, which inspired us to look into Duckponics; where plants growing in gravel and stone beds are fed from water from our duck ponds, which is then returned, cleaned and filtered for the duck’s enjoyment. The added bonus is that the nutrients that come from duck runoff and waste adds healthy nutrients into the soil for our growing crops, plants and herbs.
(Source: Eco Food Wrap)
While you are out in the garden, spare a thought forour native creatures and be sure to leave a nice big container with water- it really helps local birds and wildlife when they’re out looking for a drink as most of their regular water sources are drying out in our hot summers.
As well as conserving water at home, it is important to look to our rivers and oceans to ensure we are keeping them clean and pollution-free. There are amazing initiatives that you can put your support behind. Here on the coast locals have started organising monthly beach clean-ups together with the team at Take 3 for the sea, who base their name and ethos on the idea that if each of us just picked up 3 pieces of rubbish from our waterways, we would be greatly aiding the clean-up of our natural environment. This is also a great opportunity for teaching little ones the importance of our Oceans and the impact our lives can have on these ecosystems if we don’t care for them properly.
Another great moment we discovered over the past holidays was at the Aquarium in Sydney, where we found a great display all about single-use plastic and how different products and packaging affect sea-life. Not only was it fun for the kids to interact with the displays, it also taught them valuable lessons about trash and plastic.
(Source: Eco Food Wrap)
Water is essential to life here on this planet and conservation should be one of our most important concerns- both conserving how much water we use and also conserving our aquatic ecosystems so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.
So, make sure those taps are off, your garden is sorted and help your household Go Green in 2018!