Despite the fact that in Ireland we seem to have an endless supply of water (rain chiefly!) – it is a very precious resource and one which we must carefully conserve for future generations.
At the moment we are doing the opposite. Nationally, we use 70% more water today than we did 40 years ago! More than 1,700 million litres of water are used in Ireland every day, and the average adult in Ireland uses about 150 litres per day.
The single use of a washing machine consumes approximately 40 litres of water, the single use of a shower consumes around 35 litres of water, and brushing your teeth with the tap on uses between six and 12 litres of water.
The average family of four in Ireland uses about 436 litres of water per day, through activities like cooking, drinking, washing our hands, brushing our teeth, washing dishes, and using the shower, washing machine, and toilet.
We also waste a considerable amount of water (and electricity) making our beloved hot drinks. It’s estimated that two-thirds of us boil far more water than we need in our kettles.
There are many small things we can do every day to reduce our water use:
Turn off the tap: don’t leave taps running when you brush your teeth or are doing the dishes.
Spend less time in the shower: we spend an average of 10 minutes a day in the shower, making up about 12% of our water usage a day. Reduce the time in the shower, reduce the water used: simple. If you have an electric shower you’ll also save energy by keeping it short - heating water accounts for a whopping 19% of home energy use. You might also consider having warm rather than hot showers. Or even the occasional cold shower if you’re feeling brave. Cold showers are linked with a number of health benefits including improved circulation, increased metabolism and increased energy.
Don’t overwater your garden: horticultural experts say this can be an awful waste of time and energy. Gardening expert Gerry Daly warns against watering dried grass in summer for example. There’s no point in watering dead grass, it will fall away once the heavier rain returns again later in the year. And established trees and shrubs do not need to be watered. For plants that do need to be watered, why not collect rainwater in a water butt fed from your gutters. These can be bought from some Local Authorities or your local garden centre.