The average Torontonian household uses 307,997 litres of water a year (2013 data) and across the country, the average Canadian uses 251 litres of water a day. That is a lot of water. Households that reduce their water consumption benefit from lowering their environmental impact and reducing their monthly expenses.
Thankfully, there are many simple ways that households can reduce their water usage. Also, investments in water preservation usually pay themselves off quickly. The first step is to be conscious of water usage and to determine where to make the biggest savings. Typically, the biggest household water wasters are the washing machine, the toilet, the shower and lawn maintenance devices.
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Don’t Be a Drip
A toilet that leaks can waste over 22,712 litres of water and cost approximately $72.55 a month. A faucet that drips every second will waste approximately 630 litres of water and cost about $2 a month. These two amounts combined, and converted to an annual total, are the equivalent of wasting 140,052 2L pop bottles (280,104 litres) of water and $894.79 on your water bill! Luckily, these problems can usually be solved fairly easily; they can likely be fixed by a general contractor or even a family member.
Save Water in the Bathroom
There are more ways to save in the bathroom. A simple investment in a water efficient toilet or a low flow showerhead will pay itself off within a year or so and continue to save money in the future. A toilet can usually be replaced very easily by following online instructions, like here. Also, simply refraining from running the water when you are brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving will save a household approximately 4,145 litres of water a year (a couple dollars every month).
Below is a chart that illustrates how much water is used during a shower and bath. Current shower heads use 7.9 litres of water every minutes, but older ones can use upwards of 18.9 litres per minute. Financial costs are also included.
Save Water in the Kitchen
The kitchen is another place where households can save on water. Having a sink of soapy water and rinsing all the washed dishes at once (instead of one item at a time) can save about 670 to 1892 litres of water every month; financially, this saves about $35 to $72 a year. Running full dishwasher loads, using a faucet aerator and filling and refrigerating a jug of drinking water (rather than running a cold tap for each glass) are other simple ways that families can save money.
Lawn/Garden Care Water Conservation
Proper watering practises are the best way to cut down on outdoor water usage. Water your lawn or garden during the morning (less evaporation than during the day) and avoid over watering, for example, grass needs to receive only 2.5cm of rain per week (including rain water). Using regionally native plants and mulch can also reduce water usage. The City of Toronto provides this handy list of native plants, lawn care tips, and water-efficient garden designs.
Save Water in the Laundry Room
The washing machine is the largest water consumer in the house and to minimize this can save you quite a bit of money. Older washing machines can use 151.3 litres of water and cost .48 cents per laundry load. This can quickly add up, but newer washing machines are much more efficient, using around 25 litres and costing only about .08 cents per washing cycle. If a household does ten loads of laundry a week, they would save about $208 a year with a new machine.
Please note that all prices are based on the per gallon City of Toronto rate of $0.01452243. If you live elsewhere, you can check your water bill for your rate. Also, some municipalities charge more for late payments, for example Toronto charges a per gallon rate of 0.01528663 for payments not made on time.
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