Most environmental efforts are focused on greenhouse gases and their effects on climate change. However, in Australia and New Zealand, water conservation and safety have taken the limelight.
Maximize Your Water Use
Take advantage of Australia’s Water Efficiency Labelling Standard (WELS) when choosing products for your home. Simply switching to a shower head with a high WELS rating can reduce your water consumption by up to 30 percent. Ramp up your water conservation with a WELS-efficient washer and dishwasher. Don’t try to save water by washing the dishes manually. It won’t. An efficient dishwasher uses a fifth of the water you would use if you washed the dishes by hand.
According to government reports, more than 110 billion liters of water have been saved due to the implementation of the WELS rating, saving Australians more than $1.1 billion on water bills. Switching to WELS-efficient products will cost a bit of money, but it is money well spent if it can save you from paying hefty fines when water restrictions are up.
Don’t Let Water Just Go Down the Drain
Daily showers probably consume most of the water you use in your house. A typical 7-minute shower uses 40-60 liters of water; water can be used for other purposes. A greywater system can take water from your shower (and washer) and store it in tanks for use in flushing the toilet, washing the car, or even watering the plants. Reused water is unrestricted, so you can continue watering your plants in the summer without worrying about hefty fines. Soapy water has minimal effects on all but the most sensitive of plants and any water is better than no water at all. Connect your tanks to a rainwater collection system and you’ll have even more water to use outside the house.
Manage Wastewater More Efficiently
Conserving the water you take into your house is admirable, but what about the water that leaves it? Although Australia doesn’t have as big a problem as New Zealand, nitrogen enrichment has been detected in a few of Australia’s estuaries. New Zealand’s waterways are all but unswimmable and their aquatic wildlife is threatened to extinction by algal blooms. Australia’s larger landmass and more spread out communities have minimized the effect of sewage runoffs, but the country could end up like New Zealand if measures are not taken to control water pollution.
One significant way you can reduce, or even eliminate, your house’s sewage runoff is with a residential wastewater treatment system — one that you can have installed right in your own backyard. Modern wastewater systems use very little space. They are usually placed below the ground and would not in any way produce any undesirable odors. These systems extract the nitrogen from effluent and disperse it into the air, preventing it from reaching and enriching waterways.
Water conservation and water pollution are often ignored in light of climate change, but these issues are important to Australia and neighboring New Zealand. Take steps to reduce your water consumption and make sure the water that leaves your house isn’t polluting the waterways.