A guide to saving water

General / Lifestyle choices

  4 Minutes

It’s common to hear that water is essential for our health and that we must use it sparingly. But why? And why are we constantly told to save as much as possible? The answer to this question is simple – ‘water is essential to our daily lives’.

Water is a vital substance and an essential part of life. It is all around us, and there seems to be an endless supply – rivers, dams, lakes, wetlands and the ocean we swim in during holidays or live near to consist of water. But as populations increase and climates change, water and water supply levels have become increasingly tight and place strain on this natural resource.

We need water daily to live, and plants need it to grow. It is one of those resources that we have on hand, for the most part. But fresh water has become a limited resource, making water conservation a critical factor for the environment and future generations.

In this article, we’ll be talking about why we need to conserve water and the benefits of saving water. We’ll also look at some tips that you can implement at home to start saving water.

Why should we reduce water consumption?

We’ve all heard the warnings of the rapidly decreasing water levels in our country’s largest dams. Fresh water has become scarce in many parts of the world as rainfall varies yearly.

71% of the earth’s surface consists of water, and a massive amount of freshwater gets irrigated to farmlands for food production. Agriculture is one of the biggest users of water worldwide. Irrigation of crops, livestock watering, and other agricultural activities consume vast amounts of water. However, several industries use a lot of water as well, including:

  1. Energy production: The production of energy, whether oil, gas, or electricity, requires a significant amount of water to cool power plants, extract and refine fossil fuels, and generate hydropower.
  2. Manufacturing: Many manufacturing processes use water as a cooling agent or as a cleaning solvent. Industries such as paper and pulp, textiles (fashion), and chemical manufacturing use water.
  3. Mining: Mining operations use water for mineral processing, dust suppression, and transportation of materials. The amount of water used in mining can vary depending on the type of mine and the methods used.
  4. Food and beverage production: The food and beverage industry uses water for processing, cleaning, and sanitising equipment. Did you know that brewing a single pint of beer can require up to 20 litres of water?
  5. Tourism and recreation: The tourism and recreation industry relies heavily on water for swimming, boating, and golf course irrigation.

How does saving water save money?

By saving, we mean using your supply responsibly and wisely. When you use less water, you save money on your utility bills. By reducing your water usage, you can reduce your municipal water bills. Depending on your location, the cost of water can be significant, especially if you have a large household or business that consumes a lot of water. Using less water can also reduce wear and tear on your plumbing fixtures and appliances, which can reduce maintenance and repair costs over time. It also helps reduce the load on wastewater treatment plants and reduces the frequency of water shortages in your community.

How does saving water save money

The importance of recycling water to reduce water pollution

Water pollution is a major environmental concern that affects not only aquatic life but also human health. Contaminants like chemicals, microorganisms, and waste products enter our waterways through various sources, including industrial discharges, agricultural runoff, and domestic sewage. To combat this problem, we must look for ways to reduce water usage and recycle water.

Recycling water requires treating wastewater to make it safe for reuse. The benefits of recycling water are many and they include:

  • Reducing the demand for freshwater,
  • Reducing the amount of water that needs to be treated and discharged into our waterways and,
  • Conserving energy and resources used to treat water.

The first step in recycling water is to treat wastewater through a series of processes that remove impurities such as bacteria, viruses, and chemicals. This treated water, known as reclaimed water, can be used for many purposes such as irrigating crops, landscaping, and industrial uses.

In addition to reducing water pollution, recycling water can also provide economic benefits. For example, recycled water can be used for industrial processes that require large amounts of water, such as cooling and manufacturing. By using recycled water instead of freshwater, industries can save money on their water bills and reduce their environmental impact. Many cities and municipalities have implemented programmes that encourage the use of recycled water and offer incentives for businesses and homeowners to use recycled water. These programmes include rebates for installing water-efficient appliances and fixtures for companies that use recycled water.

With a few simple changes, we can reduce our water usage and save money. So, how can we conserve and reduce our water consumption at home?

Tips on how to save water in your home

Tips on how to save water in your home:

There are many ways to save water in your home. Here are some tips:

  1. Fix leaks: Even a small leak can waste a lot of water over time. Check for leaks in taps, pipes, and toilets, and fix them as soon as possible.
  2. Turn off the tap: Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face, as this can save a lot of water.
  3. Use a low-flow showerhead: Installing a low-flow showerhead can save a lot of water without sacrificing water pressure.
  4. Collect and reuse water: Collect rainwater in a barrel or a Jojo tank and use it to water your plants, fill swimming pools and flush toilets. You can also reuse water from washing dishes or clothes to water plants.
  5. Only run full loads: Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full of clothes and dishes.
  6. Water your garden wisely: Water your garden in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is lower. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
  7. Use a broom: Instead of using a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk, use a broom to sweep it.
  8. Install water-efficient appliances: When replacing appliances, look for water-efficient models.

The global water issue is a severe problem that requires immediate action. We all have a role to play in ensuring that our water is sustainable for future generations. By saving water, we can reduce the demand for freshwater and help reduce the amount of wastewater that enters our waterways and reduce your water bill.

References and additional reading:

  1. Find out why we should save water – western cape government (no date). Available at: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/find-out-why-we-should-save-water (Accessed: February 22, 2023).
  2. Tips for saving water around the home (no date) WWF South Africa. Available at: https://www.wwf.org.za/ (Accessed: February 22, 2023).
  3. Negru, M. (2022) World Water Day – which industries consume the most water and why should we care?, 2030.Builders. Available at: https://2030.builders/world-water-day/ (Accessed: March 1, 2023).