World Water Day on 22 March is a timely reminder of how precious a natural resource fresh water is, and how we should appreciate and conserve it. But we shouldn’t remember its importance just on this one day.
According to the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, each person in Singapore used about 143 litres of water a day in 2017. That’s a lot of water.
Here are some handy tips you can implement immediately to start saving water and do your bit for the planet.
1. Don’t flush your toilet every time
It may sound slightly icky, but if you abide by this rule, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow”, you get the jist. A single flush can use between 3 litres (for a half flush, water-efficient toilet bowl) and 9 litres (full flush and non-water efficient toilet bowl) of water.There’s no need to flush every single time — especially if you have a bustling household. And according to experts, it’s not unhygienic if you’re well-hydrated.
2. Recycle water as much as possible
If you’re cooking pasta or boiling eggs or vegetables — don’t pour that water away once the food is cooked. Instead, let it cool down, and use it to water and nurture your plants. You can also use the pasta or vegetable water to make soups. Furthermore, instead of washing vegetables and fruits under running water, wash them in a bowl, and use the water to, again, water your plants. So many ways to kill two birds with one stone!
3. Don’t let the tap run when cleaning your teeth
There’s absolutely no need to put the tap on and leave it running when you brush your teeth. It does nothing except go straight down the plughole and onto your water bill. Turn it off and only flip it on to clean your toothbrush and rinse the sink, as and when you need. And use a glass of water for rinsing, instead of leaving the water running and cupping water into your mouth.
4. Use a plug to fill up your basin when doing the dishes
Running the hot tap to wash your dishes is a needless waste of water. Instead, fill the sink with hot water, add one or two squirts of dishwashing liquid (but don’t fill it too full), and wash your dishes in that. Then turn the tap on for a quick rinse after soaping each dish before turning it off. The water will fill up the sink and help soak the remaining dishes.
5. Dishwashers are your new best friends
Whilst many (including myself, prior to researching this story) believe that hand-washing dishes is the eco-friendly option — using a dishwasher actually saves more water. A dishwasher uses, on average, 10-14 litres of water (depending on the model) whereas hand-washing requires 30-40 litres. So rather than tirelessly doing your own dishes, why not invest in a new dishwasher and give yourself a break from the dishes, and save some money? When purchasing a new dishwasher, make sure you get one that has a four-tick rating.
6. Wash full loads when doing laundry
Is your favourite outfit not washed yet but you want it for the weekend? It’s easy to shove a few pieces into the washing machine on a quick cycle, but that is a huge waste of electricity and water, and will really show up on your bills. Make sure you always load a full drum of clothes before you put the machine on, and where possible, use an eco-cycle or light wash. Similarly, if you’re getting a new machine, get one that has a four-tick rating (which uses six litres or less of water per kg load) and is front-loading — it’s considered more water- and energy-efficient.
7. Head to a car wash that recycles water
You may think car washes will be more wasteful with water than yourself (or your hubby, if he’s willing) but actually, if they recycle their water, it’s far better. Take some time to find out which ones do recycle and then drive there when your car needs some TLC. It also takes one more chore off your shoulders!
8. Have outside greenery? Get a rain barrel
Rather than hook up your hose and sprinklers to the main pipeline to water your garden, get yourself a rain barrel, which will use harvested rainwater to irrigate your garden. You get to save on water expenditure as you simply re-use what Mother Nature has given you, and your garden doesn’t suffer in the process. You can use the water to wash your windows and car too. Nuff said.
9. Take shorter showers
Although hot and long showers are one of life's greatest pleasures, but a shower shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. Not only can long showers seriously dry out your skin, it also wastes tons of water when you let the water run continuously. If you can shave off just five minutes from your daily shower, you’d be amazed how quickly it adds up to water and money saved too.
10. Or better yet, share a bath / share a shower with your partner
Aside from being sensual and naughty, bathing with your other half is practical too. Whether it’s a bathtub or shower cubicle, if you both wash together, you use half the water than if you washed separately. Plus, you get to hang out with your beau, in the buff. It’s a win-win. Just don’t hang out with the water running for too long.