Last week’s article focused on energy, this week we focus on water. There are so many things you can do here too. Some people will think some of these tips go too far or imply stinginess but you have to do what you’ve got to do. It’s better to be seen as tight rather than that friend everyone avoids mid-month because you beg too much!
If you have a big household with lots of people, consider getting a water meter.
I don’t have one, but many begin to use water more conscientiously when they know how much it is costing them.
Simple things you can do when you’re using water:
When you brush your teeth or shave, don’t let the water run continuously. Turn on the tap only when you need the water. This is such a pet peeve of mine. When someone is brushing their teeth, I expect them to turn the water off between mouth rinses. I cannot stand seeing running water! It’s a waste of money and a scarce environmental resource. I once had a house mate who just let the water run from the start to the end of brushing her teeth and I had to give her a little lecture about it. I was the one paying the water bill!
Don’t stand in the shower for ages. Turn the water on to wet yourself. Then turn it off as you soap up; then back on to rinse. Job done. There is no need to soap yourself up twice.
Don’t fill the bathtub to the brim every time. A little water is enough.
If you have two kitchen sinks, don’t let the water run whilst you rinse — wash dishes in one sink, rinse in the other.
Water your garden in the evening when it’s cooler so the water doesn’t simply evaporate into the air. Speak to your garden boy about doing this. He doesn’t care how much you spend on water.
Consider using a watering can to water the garden rather than a hose. You’ll lose less water.
My husband and I got a gadget that you put onto the showerhead to reduce the rate at which water comes out. We couldn’t even feel that there was less water coming out of the showerhead.
When you need to replace your toilet, get a water-efficient model.
Get indoor and outdoor leaks checked promptly; take a walk around your house now. Any leaks?
I personally wouldn’t do this, but I know people who fill up the tub once and everyone bathes in the same water. Eww! If it’s just kids that’s okay, I suppose. In this family the mother bathed first then everyone else.
I also don’t do this, but some people only flush the toilet after someone has done a “number 2.”
To reduce the washing up, don’t keep using different glasses for your drinks during the day. I am so guilty of this — my husband tells me off about it all the time.
Don’t use running water to defrost food. I usually take dinner meat out in the morning so it defrosts during the day. Alternatively, if it’s a very hot day, I move meat out of the freezer and into the fridge so it defrosts more slowly.
I hope you learnt a trick or two here and that you can add even more tips! The more you save on water, the more you have for fun stuff.
“Today’s wastage is tomorrow’s shortage.” Anon.
For 2 years until early 2014 I wrote a weekly personal finance and business column for Malawi's leading media house, The Times Group. The target is middle-class, working African women.
This is a reproduction of the articles that appeared in the weekend edition of Malawi News.