Towards sustainability: water 3


towards-sustainabilityFor the third installment of the series – see the previous articles on heating and electricity – I would like to propose you a selection of the best tips to help you to decrease your water consumption.

Water scarcity is a major problem today as many countries and regions of the globe (South Asia, China, Australia…) are suffering from this phenomenon which is due to increase in the very next future.

Spring is the best moment to do so as aquifers and water tables have been repleted by the winter’s rain and snow of the previous months. It is also the best way to prepare for summer.

1. Assess your system and fix the eventual leaks.

Leaks are a major problems for countries and cities, but can also lead to major waste:

As the Daily Green noted:

Fix that leaky pipe or faucet, and you’ll be amazed at how much water you can save. Let’s face it. We’ve all ignored those small, slow drips from a bathroom faucet or kitchen sink at one time or other.

After all, how much water does it really waste? When you factor in the steady, 24/7 dripping over any length of time, plenty.

How to check for a water leak

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2. Turn off the faucet while shaving or washing your hands and navy showers

When I discovered Marguerite’s fantastic blog, I came across a most interesting way of showering:

Navy Shower anyone? I just found this post in TreeHugger, where the writer advocates that we all take abbreviated showers, just like those guys in the Navy. There is even a method to it. And since we are in America, even the simplest things come with an instruction manual . . .

You may go to Wikipedia and find complete instructions for how to take a Navy Shower. In short, you just turn the shower on, just enough to get yourself wet, turn it off, soap yourself, and then turn it back on to quickly rinse.

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3. Install a rainwater harvesting system

Amazing amounts of rain can fall on your roof every year. Harvesting a part of this water can bring you a lot of free water for various uses.

Many solutions exists from DIY to commercial solutions. To learn out more, please check this page.

Further reading from Daryl’s great blog:


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3 thoughts on “Towards sustainability: water

  • Kiashu

    There’s a lot of waste in residential water use. Recently our state government gave us a “155” target – not more than 155lt of water per person daily. We use 145lt… but for three people, not one. Hmmm, perhaps they are not very ambitious with their targets.

    Those are all good things, but it’s worth noting that across the developed West, residential water use is usually around 10% of all water use. And usually waste from old mains pipes is 5-10%. Another 5-10% is usually commercial buildings. The remaining 70-80% is agriculture and manufacturing (including energy generation); their proportions vary a lot between countries.

    It’s certainly right to reduce waste of all kinds. However, even if residential use were zero, that’d still leave 90% of our consumption to deal with. In Victoria, a halving of residential use would be equivalent to agriculture reducing by… one-twelfth. Surely it’d be easier for farmers to reducing by 8% than for all residents to reduce by 50%?

    We need more pressure on commerce, agriculture and manufacturing to use water efficiently.

    Not 10km from my home there are market gardens, and typically on a 35+C day we see overhead sprinklers dropping water at noon. Less than 40% of the water dropped ends up on the roots on the plants, the rest evaporates. And of course out in the Malee-Wimmera region, savannah with around 400mm of rain annually, we… grow rice.

    If that’s the approach of agriculture, I don’t imagine that our commerce, energy generation and manufacturing are any better. Certainly they’re wasteful with energy – during a blackout a couple of years ago, we were driving to a friend’s house to put our freezer food in their freezer, and drove past many offices empty and lit up completely… at 2230 on a Sunday night. Because they were drawing power unnecessarily, our power had been cut off. I don’t imagine they’re so wasteful with energy but frugal with water.

    Yes, residents should do these things to get rid of waste. But we need to address commerce, agriculture and industry, too. And probably address them first – deal with the big things, and the small things deal with themselves.

  • Verda Vivo

    Lighter Footstep has a great article on this topic: http://lighterfootstep.com/2009/03/nasa-photos-reveal-why-cities-are-running-dry/. There are 36 states in the United States facing water shortages today. Water is the cheapest utility in most homes and businesses, and it’s treated that way. Change will happen most quickly when we all have to pay the true cost of water. When that happens, it will quickly affect individuals, businesses, agriculture and industry. It drives me crazy to see lawns and manicured golf courses in the desert. What a waste.

    Edouard, thanks for the links to my posts. I think we will find out more quickly than we like just how precious water is and how little of it we really have. ~ Daryl

  • Edouard Post author

    Agreed Daryl, and you’re welcome for the links. I invite my readers to go to your blog each time I got the occasion to. 🙂

    As I speak, tons of water are falling on our roof. The Northern part of France is very rainy but the Southern part is facing water scarcity.

    Water scarcity increases generally. I remember 2003 when it didn’t rain for months.

    Worldwide, this is a huge problem…