An important part of taking care of your well and water quality is through water conservation. In certain areas water shortages are an issue. Water shortages may occur in summer when there is a low amount of rainfall and in the winter when the pipes freeze. You can conserve water by practicing water-saving techniques, repairing leaks, and in general using water wisely.
There are numerous benefits from conserving your water:
- Water quality – Groundwater works on a system of balance. When you tap into an aquifer and pull water from it, the natural system seeks to balance that suction. This can mean pulling water, chemicals and other natural substances into that aquifer which will later find it's way into your well water. In some areas where the aquifer runs near the ocean, this can result in saltwater intrusion. Once saltwater has entered your well, it's very difficult to clear the well and it's likely that the well will have to be abandoned. Reducing the amount of water you use reduces the amount of suction you place on the system.
- Equipment Cost– Like any equipment, the more your filters and pumps are used, the quicker they wear out. This equipment can be expensive and when you think about it, you wouldn't leave your fridge door open during supper or your windows open when your heat is on, so why would you leave your faucet running continuously?
- Heating Cost - Using less water means less energy is required for pumping, heating and treating your water. Making small changes can make a big difference in your energy bill. Replace your regular showerhead with a low flow version and save 25% of shower water annually, that's cash in your pocket!
- Septic Systems - Too much water flowing through the septic system can cause problems and lower the life expectancy of your system.
- Water Supply – Many people find their wells dry out at certain times of the year or during unexpected dry spells. By conserving the amount of water you draw from your well, you allow more time for your well to fill up and reduce your water shortages. As well, if you are considering digging deeper in your well to access more water, try conserving your water first, especially if you have water shortages during certain times of the year. Digging or drilling a deeper well does not guarantee more water, and could cause new issues. Remember, you cannot predict how fractures in the rock will form. Fractures bring water into your well, and they can also redirect water from your well.
- Environmental Considerations – Although the water table is recycled, it takes a long time for it to go full cycle. There is a limited amount of drinkable water available to us and we must use it responsibly. In our homes, about 11% of greenhouse gas emissions are created from heating and using water. Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change and by reducing our water use we can help reduce our impact on the climate.
Use Water-Saving Devices
Toilets consume 30% of the household water usage. When you use water-saving devices, such as an ultra low-flush 6-litre toilet, you can use up to 50% less water per flush. Other options if you have a 15-20 liter per flush toilet are water tank banks, water dams, and adjustable flappers that reduce the amount of water that is flushed down the toilet. Water tank banks or one litre pop bottles can reduce the amount of water use by 1 litre per flush.
When replacing your clothes washer, consider a front loading washer - they use 40% less water than top loading washers.
Attach aerators to all your taps to reduce water consumption by 25%. A low-flow showerhead can reduce the amount of water your family uses by 20-30%.
Repair Leaks Quickly
Leaks can waste thousands of litres of water if they are not repaired right away. Leaking water costs money to treat and heat in addition to placing excess wear and tear on your water system. That's money down the drain!
A leak of one drop per second will waste 10,220 litres per year! Also, 5% of household water use is from leaking toilets. To test if your toilet is leaking, get toilet safe dye tablets. Put the tablet in the flush box, and if the dye appears in the toilet bowl 15-30 minutes later than you have a leak. Most leaks can be fixed by changing the flapper.
Use Water Wisely
Most water conservation techniques are common sense. Never let water run continuously while washing dishes or brushing teeth. Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes. Collect rainwater and use it to water your garden. If you must use a water hose, use a shut-off nozzle to prevent wasting water. Use a pool cover to reduce the amount of evaporation from your pool.