Hot, dry summers in North Canterbury can be challenging. Here are some simple ways to save water and help avoid (or reduce) water restrictions over the holidays.

Small savings can add up. To save water in the bathroom try turning the tap off when you brush your teeth. Wet your brush and then just let the water run when you need it again to rinse - this can also apply to washing your hands, or your hair.

Take a short shower instead of a bath to use less water, and time your showers aiming for no more than five minutes. Turn the water off while you lather up and wash, then turn the water back on to rinse off. For added savings pop a bucket or two in the shower with you. Instead of the water going down the drain, you will have buckets full of water to use in the garden.

If you have an older toilet with a large water tank, reduce the volume of water used per flush by putting bricks or sealed plastic bottles filled with stones or sand inside the cistern to displace some of the water.

The kitchen is another area where you can save water. Run the dishwasher or washing machine only when you have a full load for the most efficient water use. Rinse fruit and vegetables in a bowl of water rather than under a running tap. Select the proper pan size for cooking and use as little water as possible - this not only saves water but should result in less food nutrient loss too.

One way to save water for your garden it to re-route your gray water from the bath, shower, or washers to strategic areas of your garden. Experts also suggest setting your lawn mover higher. Apparently, taller grass protects the roots and holds in moisture better than shorter grass.

Water plants and lawns early in the morning to minimise evaporation and put mulch around plants and trees to help retain ground moisture. Another water saving option is to wash your dog in a tub outside and empty the water onto the lawn.


This article first appeared in the December 2016 edition of The Oxford Observer.