A Litre Here, A Litre There: How to Conserve Water at Home

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It’s no secret that water is in short supply in certain parts of the world. Though the Ottawa area is not experiencing a drought, there are still ways we can all pitch in to conserve water.

Stop leaks

Stopping faucet leaks can be as easy as replacing worn-out washers. For toilets, you can identify a leak by putting a few drops of food colouring in the tank. If it shows up in the bowl, you’ve got a leak, and your toilet may require a new flush or flapper valve. If the toilet is leaking around the base, call a professional.

Change the flow of water

A faucet aerator reduces the flow of water, and in the case of hot water, also reduces energy consumption (bonus!). You can also install a low-flow showerhead.

Replace or adapt your toilet

A dual-flush toilet is the most effective way of reducing water consumption, but it’s not cheap. If replacing your toilet is not in your budget, consider adapting your porcelain throne. You can buy a retrofit kit designed for saving water for about $30 at your local home improvement store.

Of course, if you’re looking for an even cheaper way to conserve water, there’s always the old adage “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down”!

Keep hot and cold water handy

Running the tap for hot or cold water is wasteful. Keep a jug of water in your refrigerator for those moments that you absolutely need cold water. For on-demand hot water, you can install an under-sink tankless water heater.

Practice water-conscious gardening

There are many simple ways to garden without wasting water: water before 9 a.m. to reduce evaporation, use drought-resistant plants, and avoid overwatering – did you know lawns only need about 2.5 cm per week?

Grasscycling – leaving your grass clippings on your lawn after you mow – can also help conserve water, because grass is comprised of more than 50% water. The clippings left behind also fertilize the lawn, plus you don’t have to rake them up.

Harvest rainwater

You can use a rainwater collection system to collect runoff, then use the runoff to water your garden. Learn how here.

Use water efficient appliances

There are a multitude of options for water efficient dishwashers and washers. Energy Star appliances will not only save energy, they’ll save that precious water as well. Make sure to do your research so that you end up with the appliances that best fit your family’s needs!

Look for the WaterSense label

WaterSense, an Environmental Protection Agency partnership, uses labels to help consumers easily identify products that help the environment by saving water. Look for the label on toilets, faucets, showerheads, and irrigation products.

Rebate programs

Ontario residents have access to multiple rebate programs aimed at reducing energy and water consumption. Click here to explore your options.

Just use less!

There are many ways to simply just use less water.

  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink with suds and another with clean water for rinsing
  • Take shorter showers
  • Fill bathtubs only halfway
  • Cool kids down with a kiddie pool instead of the sprinkler
  • Wash your veggies and fruit in a halfway-filled sink
  • Allow a longer gap between car washes

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