FREE WATER SAVING ADVICE
Do you break out in a cold sweat each month when the water bill arrives? Do your teenagers treat the shower cubicle as their happy place to while away an evening? Does your garden seem to require a constant supply of water over summer to keep everything growing? Well fear not, good citizen – we’re here to help!
EcoMatters runs a FREE Water Advice service providing extremely helpful water conservation advice to anyone who would like it (kindly funded by WaterCare Services Ltd). You can either ask us for advice about a specific problem or you can sign up for a full Water Use Audit where we will visit you at home to check out all things water related. We will then provide you with a detailed personalized water-saving plan to avoid all that precious water and money….err….going down the drain.
We also have brochures available about most water-related issues and we stock a range of water saving devices at a discounted rate to get you up and running. If you have any water-related queries, please get in touch with us, we would be more than happy to try and help you out. Email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 09 826 4276 ext. 110.
Our ultimate aim is to have you skipping to the letterbox each month, being pleasantly surprised and high-fiving yourself, your teens and maybe your prized tomatoes for doing such a fantastic job.
Are you a big spender?
Using water efficiently has both economic and environmental benefits. Conserving water can reduce your household’s water bills, but also places less demand on this finite and precious resource as well as the infrastructure which is required to supply and treat our water. So it is vital we’re all doing the best we can! This chart will help you determine if you are spending too much on water each month. If your water costs sit between the blue and red bars the low-cost tips below could literally save you buckets!
Low cost water saving tips
Small changes in the way you do things on a daily basis can make a difference to your water consumption:
- Turn the tap off and/or use a mug when brushing teeth or shaving.
- Take short showers – give yourself a 4 minute challenge! Turn off the shower temporarily while lathering up, shaving, and washing hair.
- Use a bowl inside your sink or plug it while rinsing dishes and food – this water can then be reused to water non-edible plants.
- Wash dishes only when you have a full load. The difference in the amount a dishwasher uses as compared to hand-washing dishes is marginal, as long as it’s a full load. Most modern dishwashers only need dishes to be scraped rather than rinsed.
- If you use a waste disposal unit instead of composting your food scraps, minimise the amount of water used by saving the food scraps until the end of the day and use your waste disposal unit once daily.
- Use a trigger attachment on the end of garden hoses to ensure water is only used where and when its required.
- Include a 6-monthly leak test as part of your routine property maintenance, click here for more details.
Reducing your flow rates
Reducing the flow rate of water fixtures can greatly reduce water consumption, particularly in the shower. To safely reduce flow rates in your house you must first ensure that your hot water system is Mains pressure. If you have an unwrapped hot water cylinder it will usually state on the outside if it is a Mains or Low pressure system. Gas and instantaneous systems are usually Mains pressure, but if unsure please seek advice from a plumber.We recommend a shower flow rate of 9 litres per minute to provide effective water coverage and efficient water use. Households using a Mains hot water or Gas system may be able to install flow restrictors or replace the existing shower head with a low flow shower head. For details on measuring your flow rate and installing a flow restrictor download this file: Shower FR and Measuring flyer Aug 2015 v2
Mixer Taps can also have flow restricting aerators installed. These are particularly useful in high tap use areas such as the kitchen, and can also reduce splashing which is common in shallow bathroom sinks. For more information on installing flow restricting tap aerators download this file: Hot Water Cylinder and Tap Aerators Aug 2015 v2
Toilets with plastic cisterns, particularly the single flush models, can use up to 12 litres of water per flush equating to $40 worth of water per person each year more than is necessary. Water consumption can be reduced by putting a couple of two litre plastic milk bottles filled with water, or a few large unsealed glass jars placed upright inside the cistern. A brick is the more common method but be aware that over time it may crumble, distributing pesky bits of mortar into your plumbing for future potential issues. Alternatively you could consider installing a lead counterweight – a “Gizmo” into the cistern to limit the amount of water flushed, or replace your cistern with a more efficient one. To find out how to measure the amount of water your toilet uses to flush, and to install a toilet Gizmo download this file: Toilet & Gizmo Flyer Aug 2015 v2
Water Efficiency Labeling Scheme
When purchasing an item that uses water, consider it’s efficiency. WELS make this very simple – the more stars on the WELS label, the more water efficient the product is. Introduced on 1 April, 2013 the New Zealand WELS scheme is designed to provide water efficiency information to consumers buying products that use water. WELS labels must be displayed on the following types of new products being sold: washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, urinals, showers and taps.