While we want to be as environmentally responsible as possible, saving water should be a prominent issue for associations and its owners. Some areas are already facing water restrictions. Conserving water also keeps assessments manageable. Here’s how you can do your part for both reasons:
Appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers consume the most water indoors, so let’s begin there in our conservation efforts.
- Match the water level on your washing machine to the size of your load. Avoid doing frequent small loads; run the laundry load when you have a full load.
- It’s unnecessary to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Hand rinsing dishes under the faucet uses 15-18 gallons of water per load. Instead, try using your dishwasher’s pre-rinse cycle. Should a dish or two not meet your cleanliness standards, finish the job by hand.
- Only run the dishwasher when it is full. If you have a few dishes, handwash them using a sink or basin, but avoid running under a faucet. You can use a second sink or basin for rinsing, or spray rinse all the soapy dishes at one time.
Conserving resources in the bathroom is another area you can really save water. Toilets can lose 14 percent of all water used to leakage, so make sure your toilets are working at optimal efficiency.
- Consider switching to a newer lower-flow toilet if you have an older model. Older toilets used up to seven gallons per flush while the new ones only use 1.6 gallons per flush. That is a significant difference.
- Conserve water by keeping your shower brief and turning off the water when not needed. Try turning off the shower while shaving, applying conditioner or scrubbing the stall. You may also want to consider installing water-saver showerheads and faucets.
- When running a bath, close the drain while warming up the water then adjust the temperature to your comfort level and turn off the water at the half-way mark.
- Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth. This could save up to a gallon of water.
Saving water in the kitchen
- To save water when getting that refreshing cold glass of water, try filling up a pitcher and keeping it in the refrigerator instead. You’ll always have chilled water at your fingertips.
- Thaw food overnight in the fridge (or if it’s a large item, two nights) rather than running tap water over it or soaking it in water to thaw. Or use the microwave to defrost.
- When cleaning veggies, fill a bowl instead of letting the water run. You can reuse the water from the bowl to pour on your house plants or outdoor flowerpots.
- Didn’t finish your glass of water? Ask where you could use it before dumping it down the drain. It could be poured into the dog’s bowl instead. Even the dehumidifier water can be used to water plants. It just takes rethinking some other ways to reuse water – and a change in your everyday routines.
How to conserve water in the garden
- Experts agree that early morningis the best time to water your outdoor potted plants, foliage or garden. The ground is cool and the sun is not as strong, meaning more water will soak into the soil instead of evaporating. When you water in the morning, you give the foliage time to dry off during the day, which keeps down mold and insects.
- We will be updating our landscaping tips with more water conservation in a future article. A good start would be to educate your board and landscaping team on Hawaii Xeriscaping– the environmental design of residential and park land using methods that minimize water use.
Associations and owners are the first line in water conservation. With some simple adjustments, you and the association can save thousands of dollars and conserve water, which benefits us all.