Only one per cent of the world's water supply is available for human consumption. The other 99% is contained within the world's oceans, ice caps and glaciers. Of the one per cent available for human consumption, the majority is diverted to irrigation and lawn care and to operate household conveniences such as washing machines, dishwashers and toilets.
Indoor and Outdoor Conservation Tips
Use water sparingly when brushing teeth, shaving and washing hands. Leaving the water on while brushing teeth wastes the equivalent of two milk jugs full of water, about eight litres, per minute.
After cooking or cleaning fruits and veggies, let the water cool and then pour into planters or flower beds.
Capture water while waiting for it to heat up and then use it a few minutes later to wash your dishes, or wait for it to cool and then use it on household plants.
Keep a jug of water in the fridge to cool rather than running water until its cold.
Install a flow restrictor on faucets to save up to 20 litres of water per day.
When running the dishwasher, run full loads on shorter cycles.
When washing dishes by hand, fill a second sink or a bucket with rinse water rather than letting the water run; then use the rinse water at room temperature for household plants, outdoor planters or flower beds.
Scrape contents from dishes into a bucket and take out to the compost rather than rinsing with water; not only will this save hundreds of litres of water per year, the compost will break down into a nutrient rich soil for the garden that retains water well. Be sure to throw vegetable and fruit waste into the bucket too, to help build the compost.
Replace worn washers and seals. A leaky faucet or shower head can waste about 90 litres of water per day.
Leaking pipes or service lines can damage homes and yards in addition to all the water waste. Water meters have built-in detectors which will alert homeowners when there's a leak so they know to call in the plumber to make repairs
Lawns and gardens require 35 mm (1 ¾ inch) of water each week during warmer months and less during spring and fall.
Water lawns every three to five days, applying five millimetres of water for each missed day of watering during warmer weather. Place a can in the area to measure how long it takes to accumulate the right amount to set a time pattern for future sprinkling.
Over-watering in advance of anticipated dry periods is ineffective because the soil will not retain extra water.
Use timers; they are fairly affordable and available at most hardware stores.
Invest in a rain sensor.
Water in early morning or late evening and not hotter times of the day.
Watering on windy days is ineffective because spray dissipates over a wide area and evaporates quicker.
Keep grass 6.5 centimetres (2 ½ inches) long; shorter grass browns or burns faster during hot weather.
For freshly planted plants, refer to the watering instructions that come with the plant to insure no more water than necessary is used to establish them.
Xeriscape! Use drought tolerant plants that are indigenous to a semiarid climate.
Consider plantings that provide shade and keep lawn-covered areas of the yard a cooler during hot, dry spells.
Most shrubs and trees need water only once per week, even in warm weather.
Reduce car washing, and when it is necessary use a bucket of soapy water, and a hose with an automatic shut off.
Use a broom or blower to clean driveways, patios and sidewalks.
Reduce lawn cover to as little as 1/4 of your yard and expand mulched beds, trees, and other ground cover to 3/4.
Use mulch! Mulch retains moisture, cools the ground, and reduces watering requirements.