Water saving tips to conserve water and reduce water charges

The Commission for Energy Regulation has just published the cost of water to Irish households, with charging to begin 1st October 2014. 

Save water

Some key points about the charges:

  • Householders will pay €2.44 per thousand litres of water, doubling to €4.88 to cover waste water also.
  • Charging for all homes will be capped for nine months and those on boil-water notices for 24 hours will not be charged for water supply.
  • Under the CER plan, all customers will have their total water charges capped at the un-metered or assessed charge for nine months
  • The assessed charge for water and wastewater for a one adult household is €176 or €278 for two adults, with children deemed to be free.
  • Those with water unfit for human consumption – on a boil water notice for just 24 hours – will get a 100% discount on the water supply element of the charge, but will still have to pay for waste water if on a public sewerage system.
  • The CER says the average charge will be €238 per annum and it has cut the costs Irish Water can recover between now and the end of 2016 by more than 8% to just over €2bn.

What can households do to conserve water and in turn reduce their water charges.

Water is a precious resource so it makes sense that we conserve as much as possible, wherever possible. Using less water will reduce the cost of water bills and reduce energy bills. Here are some simple water saving tips that can save you hundreds of litres of water per year.

 Water saving tips in the Kitchen:

water

  • Don’t leave the tap running when washing vegetables, use a bowl – and rather than throwing this water out use it to water the plants!
  • When doing dishes, it’s best to use a water and energy-efficient dishwasher. A dishwasher uses approximately 20 litres. Try to use only your appliances when you have a full load. Today’s models actually save more water than washing dishes by hand. If you decide to hand wash, fill a small bowl with as little water as possible.
  • Keep a container of drinking water in the fridge. With cold drinking water on hand, you’ll waste less than you would while waiting for the tap to change temperature for each glass of water.
  • When cooking, use only the amount of water required; this reduces the amount of water you’ll waste when straining.
  • Fill the kettle with enough for your needs. Don’t boil a full kettle when all you need is one or two cups.
  • A typical washing machine on full cycle uses up to 65  litres of water. Before turning on your washing machine make sure it is full to capacity. You’ll conserve water and save money by reducing your energy bill.
  • Know how to turn off your water supply. This could save thousands of litres of water and can prevent damage to your home in the event of a pipe burst.

Water saving tips in the Bathroom:

Credit: Alliance for Water Efficiency.

Credit: Alliance for Water Efficiency.

  • About 75 percent of the water used in the average home is used in the bathroom. Turning the tap off when brushing your teeth can save over 7,000 litres of water per year. A running tap will dispense up to 6 litres of water a minute.
  • Take showers in preference to a bath. A bath uses an average of 80 litres of water whereas the average shower uses only 30 litres.  Beware a power shower will use over 125 litres in less than five minutes!
  • Flushing the toilet accounts for 30% of household water use. Older models can use up to 20 litres per flush in comparison to the 6 litre flush models currently on the market. Alternatively place a brick or a bottle filled with water in the tank to reduce the volume of water used – take care not to interfere with the flushing mechanism if using this method.
  • Fix all leaks and dripping taps – A hot/cold water tap with a constant drip can waste over a 1,000 litres a month!
  • Replace the washer on the ball cock in you cistern and storage tank if you notice an overflow of water

Water saving tips in the garden:

Credit: How 2 save water

Credit: How 2 save water

  • Collect rainwater in a water butt  fed from your gutters but always make sure to securely cover large containers for safety. Rainwater is excellent for your garden. . Some Local Authorities now sell water butts. Or check with your local garden centre
  • Always use a bucket and sponge to clean windows or wash your car instead of a hose. A hose uses more water in one hour than the average family uses in a day. The car will be just as clean using a bucket of water!
  • Grass can survive for long periods without water and will quickly recover when the next rain showers arrive. Raising lawnmower blades to a higher level will help stop grass from scorching in warm weather. Leaving the clippings on the lawn protects roots and returns nutrients to the soil.
  • Don’t use a hose when cleaning paths, patios and driveways. Use a shovel and brush instead.
  • If you must water your plants, do it in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler. Forget the hose and always use a watering can fitted with a rose.
  • Using mulch such as wood chips, bark or gravel will help prevent water evaporation and will suppress weed growth saving water and the need for weeding. These are especially valuable for shrubs, flowerbeds and new plantings.
  • Regularly check your outdoor taps, pipes and plumbing fixtures for leaks.
  • Remember established trees and shrubs do not need to be watered!
  • Start recycling your green kitchen waste in a compost bin. Compost provides valuable nutrients and helps retain moisture in the soil.

What do you do to save water? Do you have any more tips on saving water in the home and garden?

Comments

Comments
  • Bernie O' Neill says:

    Fantastic blog Mary and a very timely one too. Great water saving tips. It’s frightening to see the amount that we are actually wasting. I’ll definitely be keeping them in mind and putting them into practice especially now that the water charges have been introduced. Thanks for the great advice 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for the kind words Bernie. Delighted the tips will come in useful. Saving water will be high on many household agendas now and over time I hope it will become the norm 🙂

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