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Water conservation: 10 ways to conserve water in your home

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Gardening

Water conservation: 10 ways to conserve water in your home

Canadians have the second-highest water consumption rates in the world, but it’s quickly becoming apparent that water isn’t an unlimited resource. Do your part and cut down your water use at home. Here we give you 10 ways to conserve water, from small changes to big investments.

1. Stop leaks
It’s easy to stop faucets from leaking – just replace worn-out washers. When it comes to toilets, determine if you have a leak by putting a few drops of food colouring in the tank; if the colour shows up in the bowl after a few minutes, it may be time for a new flush or flapper valve. You can fix that yourself, but if the toilet is leaking around the base, call in a professional.

Read more: Environment Canada Freshwater Website

2. Change the flow
Adjust the amount of water coming out of the tap. An aerator installed on a faucet will reduce the flow by 25 to 50 per cent. By using a low-flow showerhead, you’ll use about half the water as with a standard showerhead.

Read more: Capital Regional District Water Saving Tips

3. Retrofit your toilet
Toilet flushing accounts for 30 per cent of water use in the home, second only to showers and baths. Replace or adapt your current toilet to conserve water. A low-flow toilet averages six litres per flush compared to the standard 18 or more. If a new model isn’t in the cards, reduce the flow of your current toilet by installing a water retention, displacement or alternative flushing device, available for as little as $10 at most hardware stores.

Read more: Environment Canada Freshwater Website

Page 1 of 34. Get instant cold or hot water
Running the faucet until the water is cold or hot enough can waste several litres of water per minute. For cold water, keep a jug in the fridge so cool, refreshing drinking water is always at the ready. For hot water, install an on-demand system like an undersink tankless water heater or  recirculating system.

Read more: Capital Regional District – Information on on-demand water heaters (PDF)

5. Practice smart gardening
There are many ways to conserve water in the garden. You can start with something as simple as watering before 9:00 am to reduce evaporation, then move on to larger projects like xeriscaping (a landscaping technique to reduce water usage). Other ways to conserve: water plants with a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler so water reaches the roots directly, choose drought-resistant plants, and avoid watering paved areas and overwatering – lawns need only about 2.5 cm of water per week.

Read more: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

6. Harvest rainwater

Mandatory in some parts of the world like Australia and California, rainwater harvesting runs from the simple to the complex. On the easy end of the scale, rain barrels can be used to collect roof runoff, which is useful for outdoor watering. More elaborate systems can involve pumps and buried cisterns, and provide a secondary water source for indoor uses such as the toilet.

Read more: RiverSides

7. Buy water-efficient appliances
Washing machines and dishwashers with an Energy Star rating will save more than just energy. Qualified clothes washers use about 7,000 gallons less water per year than a standard machine, while Energy Star dishwashers use approximately 430 gallons less per year. As well, some models of both machines come with soil sensors, allowing the washers to “know” when they can use less water for loads that aren’t as dirty. To save even more water, always wash a full load.

Read more: Energy Star

Page 2 of 38. Look for the WaterSense label
Similar to the Energy Star rating, the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense label appears on products that meet its water efficiency and performance criteria. Look for the label on toilets, faucets, showerheads and irrigation products.

Read more: U.S. EPA WaterSense

9. Take advantage of government programs
Municipalities across the country are making headway in water conservation by instituting various bylaws and rebate programs. For example, cities like Toronto offer a rebate on the purchase of a low-flow toilet, and Calgary is making the switch to universal water metering, which will make homeowners more aware of their water consumption.

Read more: Check out your municipal website

10. Just use less
Dishwashers use less water than the manual method – about 5,000 gallons less per year – but if you are washing by hand, fill one sink with suds and the second with clean water for rinsing. There are other ways to save, too: fill baths only halfway, take shorter showers, and use a kiddie pool instead of a sprinkler to help children cool off in the summer.

Read more: Metro Vancouver Water Conservation Initiatives

Go green and win!
Read our Green Living Blog to find our how our editors are making their lives greener – you could win a dishwasher or one of 30 other prizes!

Read more:
Why Jennifer Aniston conserves water
Food and the environment: Make your grocery shopping greener
How to conserve water in your kitchen

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Water conservation: 10 ways to conserve water in your home

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