Ways to Save Water at Home

Is your water bill drowning you?

Or perhaps, like me, you are having the fourth fifth drought year in a row, and running water is no longer something you take for granted? 

I've put together this list of ways to save water that are part of the daily life in a desert country. 

Hope you find them useful!

Easy to Implement Ways to Save Water
That Will Reduce Your Water Bill:

Collect the hand washing water in your bathroom sink

Ways to save water: Collect the hand washing water in the sink.

Every time you wash your hands you spend water. Place a large bowl in the bathroom sink, and collect your hand washing water.

In my family we use these water for flushing the toilet. 

They will have detergents in them, and whatever you were washing your hands from, so use accordingly. 

Also, you don't have to open the faucet "all the way". A smaller stream will wash your hands just fine.

Collect the COLD water while waiting for the HOT water in the shower

Collect the cold water in the shower, while you wait for the hot water to arrive!

Place a bucket in the shower and collect the cold water that's running while you wait for the hot water to come.

These are clean water!
You can safely use them for anything (well, assuming the bucket is clean ;) 


Shorten your shower time

This one's a bit of a bummer but think about this:
Half of your personal water consumption goes to the shower!

  • A quick shower uses about 40 liters
  • A 20-minute shower could use 200 liters
  • and a bath takes about 130 liters to fill up.

So, to save water - Shorten your shower time.
It’s as simple as that. 

In the army I learned to shower in 2 or 3 minutes. God I hated it.

A water saving idea for ladies with long hair:
Use a moisturizing hair cream, after the shower, instead of a hair conditioner during the wash. This will save you 3 minutes and 30 liters.

If it's not too cold and miserable, consider closing the tap while soaping and shampooing.

What to do with the water you've collected in the sink and shower:

• Flush the toilet

• Rinse the floor

• Wash windows

• Water the garden*

*Best NOT to water plants with water that have hard detergents in them, or high concentration of salts (found in some soaps).

Close the Tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing a dish in the kitchen sink

I simply cannot bear to look at a running tap.
It's ingrained in me, part of the local upbringing, and the result of years of living with a water shortage.

Opening the faucet and just letting the water run makes me anxious, I can't stand it!

Close the tap when you're brushing, soaping your coffee mug, peeling veggies or doing ANYTHING, that doesn't involve using water at that very moment.

Water Saving Devices

Dune - best book I know about desert survival :-)

I loved reading Dune, Frank Herbert's ultimate book on desert survival 

The Fremen had so many cool gadgets for saving every single drop of water, from stillsuits and nose-plugs to wind traps and dew collectors.
While I hope things on Earth won't go that far, here are some water saving devices that Paul Muad'Dib would definitely sign on:

Install a dual-flush toilet water tank

Water saving tip #3: Install a dual flushing toilet

This is one of the most effective ways to save water:
It's the kind of toilet water tank that has two modes - a small flush and a big flush. 

Use the "half" flush whenever you can.

Quick how-to Tip:
If you can't install a new toilet tank right now, but want to reduce the amount of water you flush every time:

  • Take an empty beverage bottle, a liter and a half plastic bottle, like a soda or juice bottle.
  • Fill it up with water (so it sinks, you'll see in a moment), close it tight.
  • Place the full bottle inside the toilet's water tank.
  • What you've done with this, is you've effectively reduced the volume of your tank by 1.5 liters. Every time you flush now, you save that amount.

Is this worth the effort? Yes! 

The average person flushes the toilet between 4 to 7 times a day, using around 55 liters per day.
The toilet takes up roughly 35% of your household's water consumption, so this is an effective place in which to start saving.

Install a faucet aerator on all your home faucets

An Extremely Effective way to save water: Install a faucet aerator.

An Aerator is a kind of a netting that you plug into the end of the faucet.
Originally they were made of metal mesh, but there are lots of new designs now, made of plastic and other materials.

What iis does, is it mixes the water with air bubbles, creating a bubbly stream, which reduces the water flow without you feeling the difference.

According to the Israeli Water Authority, faucet aerators save a third of the water flowing through them, and generally save between 11% to 18% of the home's water usage. 

It's amazingly effective, cheap, super easy to install and you should go do this one right now.

Similarly, Install a water-saving shower head.
Shower heads are more complex, and ultimately, it's how much time you spend in the shower that really makes the difference. 

Having said that, go for an aerator, and for higher water pressure.

Use a Dishwasher

Wait till the dishwasher is full or use the short program if it's not. 

Don't rinse the dishes before you put them in the dish washer… just scrape off the solid food leftovers and let the machine do the rest. 

A good dishwasher uses about 10 liters for the whole cycle, much less that hand washing.

Wait for a full Washing Machine for laundering clothes

A new-generation washing machine uses only 60 liters per wash cycle, compared to the 120 of the older ones.
Get a washing machine that has a weight measurement system. It weighs your laundry and calculates how much water to use.

Harvest the water condensate from your Air Conditioner

If you have an air conditioner you are making water! Use it.

Do you know that your air conditioner can condense 9 liters of water a day? Or even more?

I've written a whole tutorial for harvesting your AC condensate – Click here to see it.

Last but not least: An Important Housekeeping Habit

Keep an eye on your Water Meter

Check your water bill regularly to see if there's an un-explainable rise in your water usage. 

If you do see a spike, you might have a leak somewhere.

How to use your home's water meter to test for leaks: 

  • Make sure all taps are closed.
  • Check that no water-using machine is running. 
  • Look at your water meter closely for about 30 seconds. 

If it's running slowly when everything is closed – you have a leak somewhere!

Fix leaks immediately when you find them.

Make a Drinking station for street cats

This is such a simple thing you can do for street cats and other pets and animals:
Set up a drinking station!

Living in a reality of constant water shortage makes you aware of nature and its cycles.

It also makes you think of how human activity impacts our environment.

At the time of writing this article, 2018, 85% of the tap water in Israel are the product of desalination plants. Man made water is better than dying of thirst, but it does come at a price – energy, money, pollution and other things.

We can all take better care of our planet. Hopefully, if we do, there will be enough water for everyone.

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