Our pioneer ancestors also used a series of pails to reuse “grey” water so that water was never discarded until it had been used to its full potential. Even after it was used up in the home, water was thrown into the garden to nourish plants - not a drop was wasted!
In the age of spas and bottled water, potable water is not treated with the reverence and respect it should be. Convenience rules, and western cultures wash millions of litres of water down their kitchen drain without a second thought.
But it's not necessary to live like a pioneer to make a difference - there are small changes that can be made everyday in the kitchen that can help conserve water in the long run, without much compromise at all.
How to conserve water when preparing food
• Turn the tap off between washing vegetables or rinse them in a filled sink or pan.
• Don't defrost frozen foods with running water. Plan ahead and place frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave.
• Use the right size pot for the job. An oversized pot means more water being heated and more energy being used to do it.
• Use a small amount of water to cook foods such as frozen vegetables and stews.
• Consider steaming - you'll preserve nutrients in addition to saving water.
• A tight-fitting lid on a pan keeps water from evaporating and boiling away and also helps water to boil faster.
• Consider making dishes where vegetables are cooked or baked without adding water.
• Use a pressure cooker to save water, energy, and time.
• Save leftover vegetable juices for soups, cooking raw or frozen vegetables, stews, and making gravy.
Page 1 of 2 - learn to conserve water with kitchen upgradesHow to conserve water while washing dishes
• Don’t run a dishwasher that’s partly loaded; make sure that it’s full before you turn it on.
• Wash dishes by hand when you only have a few. Even better, wash all of your dishes by hand if you don't own an energy-efficient dishwasher - it uses less water.
• Don't leave the water running when rinsing dishes. Use a pan of water, or place a stopper in the sink for washing and rinsing dishes and cooking implements rather than turning on the water faucet each time a rinse is needed.
• When washing dishes, use the least amount of detergent possible - this minimizes rinse water needed.
• Soak heavily soiled pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
• Capture tap water: while you wait for hot water catch the flow in a watering can to use later on houseplants or your garden.
How to conserve water with kitchen upgrades
• Consider installing a hot water dispenser on your sinks so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce water-heating costs for your household. Learn how to add your own hot water dispenser on our sister site, CanadianHomeWorkshop.com >>
• Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints.
Other ways to conserve water
• Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more – better yet, compost! Limit the use of a garbage disposal by saving food scraps and run the disposal once to conserve water.
• Keep a jug or pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running tap water until it is cool.
• Small kitchen savings - from not making too much coffee or letting ice cubes melt in a sink - can add up.
The best way to conserve water is to be conscious of how you are using it. Small changes around the house can add up to big savings for the environment.