WATER AND HOW TO SAVE IT
Some facts about water
Pure water is not a free resource – it takes large amounts of energy to produce clean water for use, not to mention staff and material costs
Ireland has neglected its water systems- Ireland produces 670 billion litres per year –and 41% minimum loss through the pipes- Germany has 3% percent loss. While most of this waste is in the water mains, recent checks have shown that a substantial proportion of the leaks are on private property ( the pipe between the mains and your residence)
Waste water is a problem and a cost – and not dealing with it causes pollution. If no investment made then we have huge problems coming down the tracks – recent events like beach closures show the problem
150 litres is our average use per day and that is 55 cubic metres average per year – In Denmark they use roughly a third less.
Cost of water here is about middle of water charges in Europe.
How to save
1 Sort out leaks: lots of leaks are in our own property)
2 Fix dripping taps:(70 litres a day for a badly dripping tap
So we’ve done that - what’s next?
Get an idea of what is actually going on
a) Measure water use – use a 1 litre jug to check rate so you get an idea of what a minute running a tap actually produces
b) Time your shower and see how much water is used in a minute or how long it takes to fill a litre
It is much easier to control the use if you can see how much water is used
Where is water used in the house
Roughly 1/3 of water is used in toilet-1/3 in shower - 1/3 in kitchen –drinking water and cooking uses is quite small and that is what needs really clean water.
many older cisterns are very large – inflatable bag or brick will cut down the volume of water needed – just make sure there is enough to “do the job”.
Dual Flush essential – this allows to use lower quantities of water for flushing “liquid” – most modern toilets have this but it can be retrofitted.
Here is set of costs for 3 broad types of showering – the costs here are based on water use and water heating costs using electric heating* and taking a shower daily, 7 days a week.
A) Eco shower – 3 minutes will give you a shower –set it at body temperature – 9 litres with a non power shower – 7c for energy and water 4.5 c - €42 annually based on 1 shower a day
B) Average shower in UK is 8.5 minutes- Powered shower 17 litres per minute – @45 deg Centigrade/Celcius - cost €2.10c with energy and water per shower
C) Running Teenager shower- 10 mins @ 45 deg Centigrade/Celcius – €2.50c = €905 annually based on 7 days a week.
*Electric water heating is the most expensive, and the cheapest is solar heated water ( but there are capital/set up costs with solar panels) with gas and oil in the middle of the cost range.
Aerators whch can be easily fitted to showers can cut down water use without changing the way the shower feels to the user.
Just for comparison: teeth washing – 3 litres a minute if you leave tap running!
Kitchen tap (direct from water mains) - 6 litres a minute.
Dishwashers and washing machines– can use up 65 litres, so it really does matter to check the energy and water use when you buy. This can be very cost effective over the lifetime of the machine.. and buying the cheapest may not save money in the long term.
Use a basin for washing up – and the leftover water (sometimes called grey water) can be used for rinsing out recyclables (cartons) and for the garden but not for vegetables.
Sprinklers and power hoses – Duncan says BAN THEM- a power hose uses 30 litres per minute!
Wash the car with a bucket and brush.
Do not water lawns – use grey water if you need to – but lawns are very resilient and will grow back quickly
There are a number of ways to collect rain water – an average roof in Dublin could produce 750 cubic metres as year ( x 5 Euro per cubic metre). THIS IS NOT DRINKING WATER.
Water Butt- uses the downpipe from your gutters, They can contain up to 300 litres – used for watering garden ( or washing car)
Tank on flat roof – provided it is not too heavy
Underground tank – expensive option, and needs good engineering
New housing schemes could include a pond for the area communally( with safety features to protect children etc) and these could hold huge volumes for gardens, car washing etc.