Damn Interesting | Watersmith Plumbing and Gas

Just a collection of some damn interesting plumber things...

Do New Zealanders really use a lot of water?

Do New Zealanders really use a lot of water?

We often take it for granted that fresh, clean water will always be available to us, yet in many parts of the country, summer water shortages are a common occurrence. There is a finite amount of water in our waterways and in a lot of cases demand is greater than supply. We rely on water for our homes, farms and industry. Making sure there is enough water for everyone in New Zealand in the future is being driven towards more water efficient appliances, households and industries. At present an average New Zealand family uses 200-300 litres of water per person per day, which is a relatively large amount compared to those in most other nations. The highest indoor water use is the shower, followed by the washing machine and the toilet. It is important to reduce consumption, reuse water where we can and ensure we do not pollute the water we have. The above infographic gives a great insight as to where the average New Zealand household uses (wastes) water.

Tips to help save water waste inside the house:

  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. This basic step will spare many litres of water every time you brush.
  • Use a plug in the sink when washing hands, dishes or vegetables.
  • Showers typically use around 20 litres of water per minute. A half full bath or shared bath often uses less water than a long shower. If you're not keen on a soak you may be able to have a water flow restrictor or shower head installed that limits the flow of water.
  • Install or convert your existing toilet to a dual-flush system. This enables you to use only as much water as is required.
  • Ensure you have a full load when using the washing machine. Otherwise use the half-level setting for smaller loads. A washing machine uses around 150 litres of water per cycle.
  • Stop the leaks. A leaking toilet or slow drip form a tap wastes thousands of litres or water per year.

Tips to help save water waste around the garden:

  • There are often restrictions on watering your garden in the summer. Make sure you stay within the restrictions.
  • Keep a tab on time if you leave children to play with the hose. A hose running at full volume uses about 2,000 litres of water per hour.
  • Don’t water your garden in the warmth of the day or when it’s windy, as water will evaporate rather than soak into the ground. Rather, water on calm days, in the coolness of the morning or evening. Watering by hand or an advanced controlled irrigation system is most effective. Moveable sprinklers are the least effective.
  • Douse your garden once every couple of days for 30 minutes instead of a light sprinkle every night. Light watering makes plants shallow-rooted. Soaking the ground every couple days encourages deeper roots and healthy plants. Don't over water as this encourages fungus and root rot.
  • Waste water from baths, showers, sinks and washing machines can be used for watering the garden. This so called grey water additionally adds nutrients to the garden.
  • Mulch your garden with grass clippings or compost and remove weeds. Mulching can prevent up to 70% of water loss through evaporation. Mulching also helps keep out weeds that compete for moisture.
  • For a healthy lawn keep the grass long. Leaving around 30mm of leaf will provide shade to the roots and slow water loss. Again, leave the clippings or mulch on the lawn.