Tuesday, 3 February 2015

February's Theme - Being Water Wise

Now that the kids are back in school,  I thought it was time to set a monthly theme to help save time,  money and energy.  I'm very goal driven and find that I achieve so much more when I have goals written down

Each month I'll post a new theme and I hope you will join in as we strive for cheaper bills,  more home cooked food and a well organised life

February's theme is being water wise.  Australia is a very dry country and for many,  many years we experienced a crippling drought.  Severe water restrictions were put in place and we eventually got used to watching every drop of water we used.

A couple of years ago the water restrictions were lifted with only minor restrictions still in place. Yet how many of us still watch our water usage ?  Do we still see water as a precious resource ? Water charges are on the increase each year and I must admit,  I don't like opening my water bill.  My family can't afford a rain water tank at this point so we need to find other ways to reduce the amount of water we use.

Here are some ways that my family saves water -

*  Saving the shower warm up water in a wide mouthed bucket.  If the weather is warm we use this water on the plants outside.  If the weather is cool or wet,  we pour the water into the washing machine.

*  Saving the washing machine rinse water and pouring it back into the machine for the next load.  I do this all year round and for every load.  The final rinse water for the last load of the day is poured onto the garden around the house.  It can't be used on the vegetable garden as it contains bacteria but it's safe for other plants and the grass.

*  Putting a large ice cream container or bucket in one of the kitchen sinks to catch the water from hand washing,  drink bottles and rinsing vegetables.  This saved water is then used to rinse dishes before being put in the dishwasher.  I also use the water for rinsing out the other sink.  If there is any leftover water after these tasks are done,  I pour it into a watering can outside to be used in the garden.  If it's really clean water I water vegetable seedlings with it.

*  Using a wind up timer for shorter showers.  I've tried digital timers but eventually they rust or the battery dies.  Replacement batteries cost more than the water you'd be saving.  I've picked up wind up timers at the Reject Shop and other discount stores.

*  Have a large jug or bottle of water in the fridge.  In Summer tap water is warm so having a jug in the fridge will eliminate the need to run the water waiting for it to come out cool..

*  Watering vegetable and garden plants with a watering can.  Using a watering can is great for getting the water where it's needed -at the base of the plant.  If your garden is large then maybe this option is not for you.

*  Having a water saving shower head.  This might sound basic but many homes still haven't changed over.  Even if you have a water saving shower head,  only turn on the taps until a reasonable stream of water comes through.  Not every shower needs to be a power shower.

*  If you have plants in pots,  put them in the shade on hot days.  You won't have to use as much water to keep them alive.

*  Water your garden early in the morning or after tea during Summer.  This gives the plants a chance to absorb the water before it evaporates.

*  Put a bucket under a out pipe on your hot water system.  Water drips out constantly so why not save it for a plant.

*  Use the shower to shower,  not brush your teeth or shave your face ( for the men ).  Even with a water saving shower head,  brushing your teeth uses about nine litres.  Shaving and brushing your teeth at the sink uses less than one litre.

*  Have the tap turned off when brushing your teeth.  Maybe use a cup of water to rinse your mouth.

*  Using the dishwasher when it's really full.

Please feel free to update us with your progress throughout the month.  We'd all love to hear how others are saving water..

What water saving goals do you have for the month of February ?

How do you save water around the home ?

My watering can.

Our new bathroom taps

An ice cream container in the kitchen sink .


  1. Love the tips, I'm also a very keen water saver and gardener. Just a quick tip re watering your plants, when it is warm it is best to water in the morning, as watering plants when the soil is warm can cause plants to rot and they are more prone to disease and fungus in warm wet soil.
    Hope that helps!

  2. Many years ago we installed a rainwater diverter to a downpipe and put a 120 litre old rubbish bin with a fliptop lid to catch the water. We then pull the diverter down if we want to catch rainwater. A similar product today is $20 at the large hardware store. It also catches the water when our cooler drains. K

    1. I saw them years ago and was wondering if they were still available. I must check them out.

  3. Hi Wendy,
    As we are in the country & rely solely on water tanks, we have to be very careful with our water. We had an incident last year where someone drove over the top of our septic tank & the car went through the top of it (yuck) so when the new one was finally put in, it had to be filled with water. Needless to say, we ended up having to buy water late last year & that hurts the tight budget. $170 for 13,000 litres. Cheaper than paying the service fees for mains water though.
    We shower (quickly) standing in 40 litre tubs, this water is then used in either the toilet cistern or the first wash in the machine. We catch all the water from the washing machine & this goes onto the fruit trees. I make my own washing powder so I know what's in it won't hurt the trees. The vegie garden is watered with rain water though. Same as you with ice-cream containers in the sink & cleaning teeth with half a cup of water. When peeling vegies, eg. potatoes, I used to just leave the tap running to rinse them when I was a townie - now they are rinsed in a small tub of water. We don't have a dishwasher so if there are only a few dishes, say lunchtime, these are left & done with the dinner dishes (irks me to do it because I am very fussy but it saves water).
    Funny how we view water so differently now we are in the country & on a limited income - it's like gold. We stayed the night in a motel last month (25th wedding anniversary splurge) & really enjoyed long showers & a spa - so luxurious!
    All the best, Lorraine

    1. Hi Lorraine. It's great to hear how the country folk save water. It really is like liquid gold.

      I run the tap on a low trickle when peeling veggies or washing fruit as it uses less water than washing in a bucket. I also save this water.

  4. Wendy all this makes a big difference. And water bills are shocking. In SA our prices are very high. It is over $300 a quarter even if we dont use a drop.
    I have a sink insert from Ikea. This lines your sink and you do the dishes in it then when you are done you pour it onto the garden. It adds up to an amazing amount. I was shocked at first!
    I also save the cold water that comes from the tap first in tow jugs for pot plants. Left over from the tea pot of cooking water also goes on a plant. This has nutrients as well!
    My husband has rigged up a system so the water from the washing machine pumps out into a drum outside the laundry window. This has a hose so it all goes on the garden. Before this though when the washing was up to the emptying stage I would line up 6 buckets and hold the outlet hose while it filled them. Then put it back and let the machine go on. Over the day I would put these on the garden. I also like a bath which I know is more water but we have a pump set up and a hose comes to the window and I pump it all onto the front garden!
    My other one is when soaking a saucepan or casserole dish I take it into the garden and fill it with water. This way it is not messy in the kitchen and I will let it soak longer. Then it is easy to pour it on a plant before bringing it back inside to wash.
    Lastly when it rains I put my house plants in the rain and any pots that are under the verandah. This also washes them so they dont get dusty. They really do well with this too.
    I would like to get rain barrels. Rather than tanks they are just a barrel that fill up from your down pipe. They arent so expensive as tanks but still you save quite a bit of water. We are looking into that.
    Also I mulch the garden pretty heavily. That has helped. Overall the only garden that gets actual town water from the tap is our lawn which is pretty small.
    Ill enjoy reading everyones methods hoping to find a new one to add! xxx

  5. Not much I can add to the list. I dread the water bill coming in this time of year with my veggie garden.

    We haven't used our pool this year and both of our lawns have not been watered for two years. I have to water trees and such around our block otherwise they would die. Once they are established they need a lot less water. I find that mulch is a great water saver, once added it slows evaporation and keeps moisture in longer. Also by having shade over the veggies helps too.

    So far this year the weather has been mild, with only one day in the 40's. That is changing this weekend when it is going to be hot again. Hopefully I can get my veggies through. We have a lot of rain water in storage, but if I used it on the garden it would soon disappear and be gone. The problem with living here on the edge of the outback, we don't know when the next lot of decent rain will come. Sometimes we go six months, maybe more without rain. I am watering half the veggie garden with rain water at the moment, so saving a bit there.

    In the house I do most of the things you have mentioned. It is amazing how much water gets wasted. I keep a bucket on the bench and add water from drink cups etc as well as pre dish water. When it is full, sometimes twice a day, I go water our lemon tree outside in a big pot.

    I think the theme idea is great Wendy. We can all learn from each other and implement new money saving ideas into our homes.


  6. Thanks for such great tips! I will definitely be implementing some of these :)
    Also Wendy i was wondering, will you be doing more ACA interviews this year?

    1. I hope to do more stories for ACA. Why don't you drop them a line on their website. They love feedback and ideas for stories.

    2. I hope so too! You should be on our TV's every week!
      I'll post on their website and hopefully they will listen!

      Have a great day Wendy.

  7. I love the thought of a nice challenge now and again to get me to focus.

    Recently I bought a rectangle basin from Big W and it fits in both the kitchen and laundry sink perfectly. I use it to wash the dishes in and then tip it straight on the garden. When I am rinsing clothes or handwashing I put it in the laundry sink and again tip it straight onto the tress or plants in the garden. I only have a very new garden and the plants are quite young so they do need a fair amount of water and this helps.


  8. Great website and post Wendy...As always I really love your homestyle cooking. Thanks also for reminding us about water conservation...interested in...saving water by using a icecream containers...and also a lot of suggestions made by Annabel.


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