Cyprus is suffering a water shortage crisis with many towns and villages being cut off for a number of days each week.
In belated efforts to resolve the crisis, the Government is planning a new sea water desalination plant, buying giant drilling equipment dig deeper boreholes in the search for water, and fresh water is being shipped to the island from Greece.
(The cost of the fresh water that the Government is shipping in from Greece is many times more the current crude oil price, which currently stands around $141 a barrel).
The following list of 41 water saving tips was prepared by junior pupils attending the American School of Paphos. It formed part of a prize-winning project that the pupils entered at a recent Environmental Fair run by my Rotary Club (Limassol Berengaria Cosmopolitan).
Water usage – facts and figures
- To flush the toilet uses 7-10 litres of water.
- A normal 5 minute shower uses 35 litres of water.
- A bath or power shower uses 80 litres of water.
- A washing machine cycle uses 70-120 litres of water.
- A dishwasher uses 25-60 litres of water.
- A dripping tap can waste 25 litres of water a day.
- A running tap uses 10 litres of water a minute.
- Hosepipes and sprinklers use 1,000 litres of water per hour.
- On average, we each use a total of 150 litres (10 buckets) of water each day…
- A swimming pool looses 150 litres of water a day through evaporation.
Try to do one thing each day that will save water. Don’t worry if the saving is minimal. “Every Drop Counts” and every person can make a difference.
Tips for saving water in the bathroom
- Don’t flush needlessly – unnecessary flushing is one of the biggest wasters of water. Remember, if it’s yellow let it mellow if it’s brown then flush it down.
- To restrict the amount of water when flushing either place a brick, a bottle filled with sand or ‘Hippo Bag’ into the toilet cistern.
- Don’t leave the tap running while you clean your teeth or shave. If you leave the tap running you could be wasting up to 10 litres per minute.
- Bathe your young children together, it’s fun too!
- Having a three minute shower instead of a bath will use a third of the water and can save up to 500 litres a week.
- When you are washing your hands, don’t let the water run while you lather.
- Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water, as it’s warming up. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.
- Check to see if your toilet has a leak by adding a few drops of food colouring to your toilet cistern. Don’t flush the toilet for a while and if the food colouring shows up in the toilet bowl you’ve got a leak.
Tips for saving water in the kitchen
- When boiling an egg or cooking in general save the cooled water for house-plants or the garden. They’ll benefit from the nutrients released when cooking.
- You can use less water by turning the hot tap down, rather than the cold tap up, if you require cooler water.
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost in the fridge overnight or defrost using your microwave.
- Cook food in as little water as possible. This will also retain most of the nutrients, alternatively use a steamer.
- Keep cool water in the fridge so you do not need to run water down the sink to have a cold drink.
- Wash salad or vegetables in a bowl rather than under a running tap, then use water to water plants or flush toilets.
- Don’t overfill the kettle when making a cup of tea. Only fill and boil what you need, this will also save money on your energy costs too.
- Always run a washing machine on a full load and similarly only run a dishwasher when it is full. And do not rinse plates under the tap first.
Tips for saving water in swimming pool
- Cover your pool. Covering the pool can save 95% of water lost to evaporation. It also reduces cleaning and can help prevent accidents.
- Lower the pool’s water level to reduce losses from splashing. In general try to reduce splashing.
- Keep the pool and filters clean to reduce frequency of filter backwash.
- Backwash only when necessary. If you can run backwash onto lawns or collect for reuse.
- Check your pool for leaks.
- Maintain proper chemical levels and an adequate circulation time to reduce backwash.
- Don’t keep getting in and out the pool. Your costume and body holds many litres of water, which is removed from the pool every time you get out.
- Keep an eye on the water level when filling your pool. Forgetting to shut off fill water can make for a costly waste of water.
- Increase shade. Covering your pool with a shade will further reduce evaporation as well as protecting swimmers from harsh sun rays.
Tips for saving water in the garden
- To save water outside use a watering can or a hose pipe with a trigger nozzle instead of a sprinkler. Your hosepipe can use as much as 18 litres of water a minute.
- Water your garden at dusk to reduce the amount of water that may evaporate.
- Think about collecting rain water from your roof and downpipe in water butts or buckets.
- Hoeing reduces water loss from the soil, stimulates the growth of plants and removes weeds that take up valuable water and nutrients.
- Using mulch on the garden will help the soil retain water resulting in a reduced need to water the garden so often.
- Use a broom or mop instead of a hose to clean your patios and save on average around 80 gallons of water every time.
- Think twice before having a lawn laid, they are hard to maintain use a lot of water and there are many realistic synthetic alternatives.
- When you next have a barbecue, encourage your friends and neighbours to be part of a water-conscious community.
General water saving tips
- If you need to purchase a new water using appliance, check to see how water efficient it is.
- Fix dripping taps – a dripping tap wastes at least 5,500 litres of water a year – that’s enough to fill a paddling pool every week for the whole of the summer.
- If you have a fish tank, use the dirty water on plants, it is rich in Nitrogen and Phosphorous which provides an excellent fertiliser.
- Fit aerator nozzles to taps, these reduce flow without compromising use.
- Leak detectors installed inside the house protects your property from a leaking pipe.
- Fill up a spray bottle with an inch of Dettol and use to clean surfaces etc. (it saves water, rather than constantly using and wetting a dish cloth).
- Use grey water from household appliances such as tumble dryers and air conditioning units.
- Take a few seconds before throwing used water away. Could you reuse it somewhere else – like watering plants around the house or in the garden.
Remember Every Drop Counts – Please don’t waste water!