Water conservation on the driest continent on the planet is essential, logical and too long in coming. There are lots of easy things we can all do!
Fresh water is embedded in most of the things we consume, from the meat we eat (41,500 litres to produce a kilo of meat) to the aluminium we carry our drinks in (20 litres for a single can). While the water we use in the home may seem trivial (only 7 per cent of all water used in Australia), its conservation is a step toward increasing our knowledge and respect for this precious life-giving resource.
How to do it now!
Six easy actions will save litres of clean fresh water being used and flushed away:
Install a water-efficient showerhead
You will save more than 12,000 litres of water each year and reduce your water and energy bills when you exchange your old showerhead for a new 3-star water efficient one.
Install low-flow taps
Reduce the amount of water coming out of your tap. It is that simple. Available from any hardware store.
Dual flush toilets
Installing a dual flush toilet will allow you to use the appropriate amount of water to clear the toilet bowl. Another approach is to learn the mantra "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down".
Use the water twice
Connect up a hose to your washing machine so you can pump the water out to your garden. Make sure you use phosphorous-free detergent so that you don’t harm your soil or plants!
Invest in a front-loading clothes washing machine with a high star water rating
They are more efficient with water and energy and gentler on your clothes.
Check the water rating
If you're about to buy a water-using product find out first how Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) ratings can save you money and help the environment. It's simple - the more stars on the WELS label - the less water that product will use, and the more money you will save.
Some local councils also offer rebates for purchasing water saving devices. Contact your local council to find out.
Why is this action important?
Fresh water is the lifeblood of nature. Without it, we would not have clean air, food, drink and many aesthetic and recreational benefits. Therefore, we need to ensure we use water in a sustainable way – we need to share it with all life on the planet and respect and value this ‘lifeblood’. The consequences of doing otherwise can be seen in the spreading deserts across the world and the drought and famine that can soon follow.
Almost every river and wetland system in Australia is under stress from human withdrawal of water. River red gums, fish breeding stocks and the estuary systems at the end of these rivers are dying. The human need for water is continuing to expand in the face of this silent death of our rivers. This action moves us toward being as efficient with our water use as nature is. A tall order indeed.
Clean fresh water from the tap is, for most people in the world, a luxury. As the Australian water supply is stretched, recycled and sterilised at the expense of our waterways, we expose ourselves to toxic algae, chemically treated water and an increased vulnerability to severe drought. Many people across the globe are not so lucky, and a lack of water and associated diseases kills tens of millions of children each year. So use water wisely, and conserve this precious resource.