Want to do your bit for the environment and minimise your water footprint? Here are 11 really easy ways to save water and money this spring and summer
The little things matter.
Every little thing we do leaves an imprint on the planet in some way, including our water use.
Why is our water footprint important?
Water is the most important resource on the planet, and every time we use water, we waste water.
We live on the driest populated continent on Earth, and with freshwater resources declining and our demand for water ever-increasing – now more than ever we need to conserve our water use.
Why is minimising our water footprint so important?
Even though 71% of the Earth’s surface is water, water scarcity is an issue being felt across the globe.
This is only expected to increase. Projections suggest that across Australia, the number of drought months will rise by 20% by 2030.
Our water footprint and carbon footprint are also linked.
Distributing water and treating the water we waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Conserving water lowers these emissions.
Why is water scarcity increasing?
Only 2% of the Earth’s water is fresh (not salt).
This freshwater is made up of almost 70% snow and ice, 30% groundwater, less than 0.5% is lakes and rivers and less than 0.5% is in the atmosphere.
So freshwater is already scarce, and the distribution of fresh and saltwater on the Earth is changing.
Climate change, water pollution, a rapidly growing population, our lifestyle and agriculture (which uses 70% of the world’s accessible freshwater) are contributing to the increased demand on our freshwater supply.
How to reduce your water footprint outdoors
On average Australian’s waste 80% of the water they use.
This is high, but it means there is plenty of room to improve and become water-smart outdoors.
About National Water Week
Every third week of October, the Australian Water Association organises National Water Week to build awareness around the value of water.
The theme for 2020 is Reimagining our Water Future.
We know water is becoming scarcer, how can we rethink our current water practices to help conserve valuable water resources?
11 easy ways to save water (and money) outdoors this summer
There are plenty of ways you can reduce your water waste indoors, but as summer approaches, our outdoor water waste increases.
Follow these 11 super easy ways to conserve water in your garden and outdoor living area.
1. Collect your rainwater
A rainwater collection system is a great way to keep your garden thriving in summer.
Setting up a rainwater tank is a small upfront investment that will save you money in the long-term.
2. Water more thoroughly and less often
Watering regularly is wasteful, especially if you’re not watering thoroughly.
Water at the surface level doesn’t reach the roots of your plants and evaporates more readily. When watering in summer (especially lawn areas) deep soak to make sure the water being used is effective.
3. Use a soil moisture meter
Not sure how often you need to water your garden?
A moisture meter is a great way to make sure you’re not over water and helps you adjust your water schedule with the seasons.
4. Water your garden early
The time of day you water your garden makes a difference.
Watering in the morning (before it gets hot) will decrease evaporation. Watering at night can create humidity and lead to fungus.
5. Create shade
Creating shade in your outdoor spaces is great for sun protection and helping keep the ground cool to prevent water evaporating.
6. Improve your soil
Good soil encourages good root systems and helps hold water.
Add mulch at the beginning of summer, it acts as a protective ground covering that holds in water.
7. Choose water-saving plants
When it comes to choosing plants for your garden consider how much water they need.
Choosing native plants and water-saving plants means you know they will thrive and will reduce your water bill.
8. Clean without chemicals
Cleaning your outdoor area without chemicals is a great way to reduce your water use. Furniture, pool fences and windows can all be cleaned with fibres and minimal water.
Simply fill your 500ml Trigger Spray Bottle and spray water to clean as you go. No buckets and no rinsing chemical residue.
9. Use a broom (or Floorcleaner) to clean driveways
Avoid using your hose to wash down driveways and patios.
Use a broom or outdoor Floorcleaner to remove moss, algae and dirt with minimal water use.
10. Cover swimming pools
If you have a pool, using a cover when it’s not in use is a simple way to prevent your pool water from evaporating.
11. Clean your car without chemicals
Cleaning your car with chemicals creates runoff that impacts local waterways, requires treatment (that requires energy) and it can be wasteful too.
Switching to a chemical-free car clean not only protects waterways, but it also minimises your water use too.
Have outdoor water-saving tips?
If you have tips for minimising your water footprint in the garden, share them in the comments below.
Want to learn how your cleaning routine could minimise your water use and protect waterways?
Editor's note: this post was updated 14 October 2020