Did you know? Less than 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater, and less than 1% of all water resources on Earth are readily accessible for human use. This World Water Day (March 22), it’s important to keep in mind when we wash our hands, clean our veggies or refill our water bottles that water is also a limited resource, making it all the more important that we use this precious resource conscientiously.
The Earth’s current water supply mainly comes from surface water, such as lakes, rivers, and groundwater – these are the same sources that have supplied the Earth’s water for thousands of years. In a hyper-dense city like Hong Kong though, where the existence of surface water is nearly non-existent, the challenge to produce and conserve usable freshwater is even more apparent.
As we look for ways to reduce our footprint on a daily basis, here are some easy water-saving tips that you can start implementing today:
1. Cut down your shower time
Did you know a standard shower head uses 9.4 litres per minute, or 94 litres for a 10 minute shower? Those figures should be enough to motivate all of us to cut our shower time in half, or at least turn off the water while we’re scrubbing down. Also, be sure to turn off the tap when you are washing your hands!
2. Use a basin to clean things
Whether you’re rinsing your razor or washing your dishes, running the faucet uses a lot more water than filling up a basin with a limited amount of water. Soaking stubborn pots and pans instead of scraping them under running water is also a more effective way of cleaning your cookware, and avoids scratches and tarnishes too.
3. Reuse water
Getting in the habit of reusing water can save quite a bit of water. Before you throw out the water used to soak your vegetables or cook pasta, consider using it to water your plants. Even rice water is known to have a load of amazing benefits for skin and hair!
4. Cook with water wisely
If you love to cook, you know that water is used plentifully for washing, prepping, and cooking. However, there are just as many ways to reduce your water usage in the kitchen.
For instance, steaming vegetables uses a lot less water than boiling, and also retains far more nutrients. When it comes to defrosting frozen foods, thaw them overnight in the fridge instead of dunking it in water, or use a microwave instead.
5. Update your appliances
At first glance, replacing an appliance can be expensive but water-efficient appliances can provide significant savings on your water bill. Even smaller fixes, like a low-flow showerhead or faucet can make a big improvement for water conservation.
If you’re serious about your water consumption, look into the latest “Let’s Save 10L Water 2.0” campaign from the Water Supplies Department – they’ll install flow controllers for water taps and showers, free of charge. Learn more about the service here.
6. Aim for full laundry loads
Make the most of your laundry machine by making sure you’re using full loads over multiple small loads. When you need to run a small load, make sure to adjust the water level accordingly.
7. Go plant-based
When it comes to diet, animal products (including meat, dairy and eggs) require a much higher amount of water than vegetables or grains. If you’re not ready to give up meat entirely, try working in plant-based alternatives, and integrating more vegetables into your meals for some delicious whole-food goodness.
8. Check for leaks
Whether it’s from your toilet or tap, leaks at home can also be a massive waste of freshwater. Be sure to test for leaks at least once a year, and have them fixed up regularly by a professional!
See also: Why We Need to Protect the World’s Forests
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