What you need to know:
- Checking for leaks and cracks in the house and fixing them saves a lot of water.
- For instance, a leaking faucet or outlet, sink and toilet can result in an extensive amount of extra water being used.
- Having regular inspections from a plumber or water specialists can lead to early detections, prompting swift fixing.
The long rains season is here with us again and the temptation to be careless and extravagant with water usage in our homes might be too alluring to avoid.
Our contemporary modern households use water for different purposes ranging from doing laundry, bathing, cleaning, watering lawns, cooking and other uses.
In Nairobi, as in other major cities and towns in the country, water problem is pronounced and has caused untold suffering among residents, who have had to endure months of water rationing to make sure that the scarce resource is equally distributed among all citizens.
With heavy rains expected, according to Kenya Meteorological Department, the need to conserve the little or much that will have been harvested might be taken for granted but drawing lessons from failed rains last year, optimal use of the amount harvested should be prioritised.
And so what are the steps that households should take to make sure they optimise the use of water and make every drop count with the future in mind?
AROUND THE HOUSE
Checking for leaks and cracks in the house and fixing them saves a lot of water. For instance, a leaking faucet or outlet, sink and toilet can result in an extensive amount of extra water being used. Having regular inspections from a plumber or water specialists can lead to early detections, prompting swift fixing.
Investing in water-saving devices that use less water to perform everyday tasks is also another way of conserving water at home. Purchasing water-efficient products and appliances like sink systems, bathtubs and dishwashers can go a long way in saving on water.
Also make it a habit to turn the faucets off tightly after use.
IN THE KITCHEN
Washing dishes: A lot of water is wasted in the kitchen and especially in the sink while washing dishes. To avoid excess use of water, use of running water should be avoided, and instead the use of two-sink method should be adopted.
Start by scraping every bit of food you can off your utensils in one place then place them in a basin where you should now let your tap open. Wash them before putting them to the next basin where you will do a quick rinse. This will ensure that you save a lot of water that would have been lost if you would have let the tap run freely during the whole process.
If you wash your dishes by hand, fill one side of the sink with fresh water and use it for rinsing when the dishes are scrubbed clean rather than rinsing each plate, cup, or utensil individually but if not, then consider using a dishwasher, which if properly used, uses less water than hand washing.
IN THE BATHROOM
A lot of unnecessary water is used for showering and flushing out toilets. Toilets are water-intensives fixtures in our houses and investing in low-flow toilets and showerheads that can cut the amount of water used in half is crucial.
One can also install a composting toilet that requires no water. Do not use your toilet as a dumping point as every flushing uses not less than nine litres of water.
Use of low-flow shower heads and shower buckets to save water
The latter curbs against letting water pour down the drain by sticking the bucket under the faucet while you wait for your shower water to heat up, which can be used in another task in the house like flushing the toilet or watering plants.
Also fill your bathtub halfway instead of all the way to the top and start taking shorter showers whenever possible.
Avoiding letting the tap to continuously run while using it. Develop the habit of turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing your hair until it is time to rinse. The same should also apply while scrubbing or washing your hands.
Also stop flushing the toilet every time. Only do this when it is necessary.
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
Watering your lawn: In order to use as little water as possible in your lawns, the best time to water the grass is early in the morning or late in the evening just before sunset when the temperatures are down. This will prevent loss of water through evaporation if it were to be done during the day when the sun is overhead.
A watering can or a triggered hose pipe should also be used while keeping the stream as close to the ground as possible so that the water is maximally absorbed for optimal use. Watering it by hand also saves as one has more control over water used.
Use a bucket filled with soap and water and a sponge instead of using a pipe in order to save more water.
Another way to conserve water is through recycling. Waste water called ‘gray water’ that can be cleaned and/ or treated before being used in another chore should not be left to run down the drain. For example water used in rinsing utensils can be used to flush the toilet or to water lawns.
And those with recycling mechanisms can collect the used water, clean it and let it back into the system.