Stage 3 water restrictions went into effect in the metro area on July 20, 2015 as our water reserves fell to a 12-year low sitting near 70%.
The restrictions apply to treated drinking water which is what comes out of our taps and hoses. This means that residents are prohibited from watering their lawns, washing cars, boats etc., and refilling of private pools.
With the hot weather expected to extend into the month of August, these restrictions are not likely to be lifted anytime soon.
While it is relatively easy to not water your lawn during this time, there are many other steps you can take both in your home and outside to help conserve water.
Here are some helpful tips to help you and your family conserve water:
- Check all of your taps and pipes to make sure that none are leaking. Even a small leak can waste up to 91 litres a day. Routinely monitoring your taps and pipes can also help you in the long run and prevent costly floods and damage.
- Install water saving shower heads and taps. “Low flow” usually means less than 11 litres per minute. In conjunction of limiting the length of your shower, this can help to drastically cut down on water usage. It is also important to insure that all of your taps have aerators installed on them.
- Insulate your water pipes. You can purchase pre-slit foam pipe covers that will help you not only get hot water faster, but also waste less water waiting for the water to warm up.
- Only use the washing machine/dishwasher for full loads. This one is almost a no-brainer. Not only will you save on energy costs, your machine will also run more efficiently.
- Minimize the use of garburators. Garburators require a lot of water to properly break down your food waste. Instead, use your garburator sparingly and try composting organic waste. The composted material can later be used on your lawn and garden!
- Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge. Running the tap to get cold water is very wasteful. Instead, you can purchase a filtered water jug or container and keep it in the fridge. This is great for a hot day when you really need to cool down.
- Plant drought resistant shrubs/plants. While having a lush green yard is aesthetically appealing, using treated drinking water to maintain it can be very wasteful. Instead, plant drought resistant plants and shrubs in your lawn. Group plants according to their watering needs and try to plant them on a slope. Finding out which plants are native to your area will also help as they will need less care.
- Put a layer of mulch around your trees and plants. The mulch will acts as a reservoir for water as it is able to retain moisture. This will also help prevent water run-off. You can even use the compost you are now collecting from tip number 5!
- When it does rain, collect the water. Putting several buckets around your house and yard to collect rain water can be very helpful in maintaining a lush lawn. Place the bucket on gravel or concrete around your property where the water wouldn’t naturally absorb into the ground.
- If you need to clean your walk-way, use a broom. Pressure washing and the use of residential hoses are prohibited under the Stage 3 restrictions. Instead, try using a brook to sweep and collect debris from your pavement.