It's hot. Many provinces are in flames and there's a water shortage.
Now, for the bad news: Our households consume about 340 litres of water per day. And the thirstiest culprit is your toilet, followed by laundry, faucets, showers and leaks.
This is not a problem of the week or this summer. This is what lies ahead.
Five water-saving habits inside your home (in order of impact)
"If it's yellow, let it mellow..." is the two-part jingle. But what about all the other times?
- Don't flush tissue or toilet paper each time you blow your nose. Switch to hankies (see laundering tip below).
- Stop flushing the unflushables like baby wipes, floss and hair. Don't treat your toilet like a garbage can.
- Install low-flow toilet(s). Old toilets use about 12 litres; low flow will cut that in half.
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- Most clothing can be worn a few times before washing. Some people never wash denim!
- Avoid using the pre-wash rinse cycle — poopy cloth diapers a possible exception.
- Invest in a water- and energy-efficient machine (savings are from 150 to 75 litres).
- Don't run the tap for a cold drink. Fill a jug and leave it in the fridge. Or drink what you get.
- Wet your toothbrush. Then rinse the spit with waste water from your short shower (read below).
- Use the water at the bottom of your salad spinner to give plants a drink.
- Set your phone alarm to two to three minutes. Or listen to a two-minute song ('cause I know you like to sing along). Turn the water off while you soap up.
- Don't wash your hair every day.
- Save shower water in a pail for washing floors, the car or rinsing toothpaste spit.
- Does your bathroom or laundry room smell mouldy? Check for leaks from big water sucks — toilet(s), washing machine and faucets.
- Metro Vancouver explains how to check a toilet: "Put a few drops of food colouring in the tank. If it shows up in the bowl, your toilet is leaking water."
Outside: Prioritize watering edibles over ornamentals and annuals
- A brown lawn isn't dead, just dormant (like a bear in winter). Metro Vancouver recommends one hour of lawn watering per week (unless, of course, it rains).
- Garden hoses are the least efficient way. Use a drip system or try clay pots!
- Follow your city restrictions. Water in the early morning — usually no wind and lower temperatures, so less water evaporates. The worst time to water is late evening because the lawn stays wet all night, making it more susceptible to disease.
Caught someone watering when they shouldn't? Read this before reacting.
What's a solution to saving water you think is underutilized?
Sincerely, Lindsay Coulter
A fellow Queen of Green