As Toowoomba is plagued by one of the worst eastern Australian droughts in decades, now more than ever is the time to do all we can to preserve water and help out our community.
So grab your notepad and soak up a little expert advice thanks to our friends at Downs Water Warehouse on the most environmentally and financially friendly ways to help survive the dry spell.
Firstly, you don’t want any more water escaping down your drains than is absolutely necessary. So replace washers on dripping faucets, cut back on your shower time, place buckets in showers to catch excess water (your plants will love you!), and keep the tap off when brushing your teeth or shaving. Also, make sure your home is leak-free by taking a reading of your water meter then waiting half an hour (keep those taps off!).
At the end of this time take a reading once again and, if nothing’s changed – you’re all good! If it has, you’ve got yourself a leak and will need to go digging.
Secondly, only use appliances when absolutely necessary. That means ensuring that washing machines and dishwashers are full before you turn them on. Also, consider the fact that kitchen sink disposal units require a lot of water to run, so why not instead start a compost pile as an alternative way of getting rid of your food scraps and making some worm friends while you’re at it?
Finally, technology and modern-appliances are your best friends. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated them – strongly consider doing so. Grab a new ultra-low-flow showerhead, install an instant hot water heater in your sink (so you’re not waiting an eternity for it to get warm!), pick-up a new air-to-air air conditioner as opposed to a water-to-air model, and set-up a toilet displacement device (can be as basic as a plastic water jug) to cut down on the amount of water required to flush. All in all, ensure any new technology or appliances are water, and energy, efficient.
It’s true that for many of us our gardens are our pride and joy. But they’re also the area of our home most likely to sap summer’s precious nectar – water! Critically, conservation begins even before you pull out a hose. In fact, it begins with landscaping.
Consider planting only grasses, plants and trees that are tough, climate resistant and drought-tolerant. This means they won’t need to be watered as frequently, often surviving far longer than other kinds would during dry patches. Also, mulch is an excellent way of retaining moisture in your soil (as well as keeping water-sucking weeds at bay), so use plenty around your garden beds. Avoid fertilising wherever possible because this increases the need for water.
As for outdoor appliances, there are plenty that can help your community, make your garden look great and keep those dollars in your pocket. Installing soaker hoses as well as micro and drip irrigation devices is one way to do it, as are water saving pool filters. You’ll also want to avoid ornamental water features (bad!) other than those that use re-circulated water (good!). Additionally, if you’re yet to have gone and gotten yourself a pool and/or spa cover make sure you do. They work wonders in helping to reduce water evaporation.
Other conservation tips include harvesting rainwater (place a large drum below a downspout gutter), washing your car on the lawn (the grass will thank you!), and raising your lawn mower blades to their highest level encouraging roots to grow deeper and retain moisture. When it comes to watering, most lawns absorb best with several short sessions instead of one big one and can last between five and seven days water-free in the summer. (If it pours from the heavens they can last for up to a fortnight.)
So, there we have it. The best ways to look after your city and back pocket this drought season. Apply even a handful of these and you’ll be helping to make a significant impact in Toowoomba this summer.
Downs Water Warehouse stock a huge range of water products to suit agricultural, domestic, commercial and industrial needs. For more information, as well as appliances and devices to help you out this drought season, visit them online here.