Start by checking the flow rate of your shower. If a 10 litre bucket placed under your running shower fills in less than a minute consider installing a flow-restrictor on your shower head. These are easy to install and available free at the Waiheke Resources Centre.
Have a shower instead of bath. A bath uses up to three times the water of a shower.
In your garden
Water gardens in the early morning or late evening to minimise water evaporation.
Mulch around plants – this helps to minimize evaporation, helps the soil retain water and inhibits weed growth.
Plant more natives in your garden, they need less water.
Consider buying a barrel for collecting rain water to use in the garden.
Use a watering can instead of a sprinkler or hose.
Make sure every load of washing is a full one and use the minimum amount of rinses. If you don’t have a full load, adjust the water level to suit the size of your wash load.
Save grey water from rinses and use it to water the garden.
Run a small sink of water to wash fruit & veges and rinse dishes in rather than keeping the water running.
Only run the dishwasher when it is full.
Check the water efficiency rating of your dishwasher. Unless it is very efficient it will use more water than washing dishes in the sink.
Install an aerator on your kitchen tap. These will not affect water pressure but will cut water usage by up to 50%. The Waiheke Resources Centre has water aerators for $5 each for Waiheke homes.
On average each person flushes the toilet five times per day. Different toilets use different amounts of water in a flush – old single-flush models use up to 11 litres, while more recent dual-flush models use around 5.5 litres for a half flush and 11 litres for a full flush. Use the smallest flush possible to get the job done and if you can avoid it don’t flush at all!
Install a gizmo in your toilet. Gizmo’s work by stopping your toilet from flushing the moment you take your finger off the button. In a three person household, gizmo’s could save up to 20,000 litres of water per year. Gizmo’s work best on single-flush toilets and take less than a minute to install. The Waiheke Resources Trust has free gizmo’s for Waiheke households.
If you don’t have a single-flush toilet, fill a plastic bottle with water and place in your cistern. This can save thousands of litres of water per year by cutting down the space to be refilled and therefore flushed.