Saturday 31 October 2020

Making our home more water efficient and save money during COVID-19 times

COVID-19 has taken the world by surprise and like all other countries; locally it has been affecting our day-to-day life, especially when the first case of this novel virus was reported in Malta, on Saturday, 7th March. Notwithstanding, the dreadfulness of this situation, there are some outcomes that could have a long-term positive impact on the planet and humanity due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This virus is giving us a new sense of appreciation and gratefulness. It has offered us a new perspective on everything we have taken for granted for so long, including the conservation of water. COVID-19 may have both direct and indirect impacts on water resources. This challenging time, mostly due to higher use of water consumption at home, is helping everyone to understand and realise the importance for responsible use of water in our life’s hence more people are starting to be more accountable about water usage at home and at work. For every low, there’s a high and it’s true that even this current scenario has a silver lining to it.

An increase in water usage

In April and May, people had been being asked to remain at home, whereas hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting our home on a regular basis, was continuously emphasized as a critical strategy in containing the spread of the coronavirus. When it comes to making a surface germ-free at home, cleaning followed by disinfecting is the suggested method. No doubt, all this resulted to higher household water consumption than normal.

Surely, changes in water use will lead to changes in customer bills. Many businesses started to struggle in order to survive in this situation, resulting to less or no income at all, while they still had to pay their monthly expenditures, including rent.

Ways to keep your water bill low during COVID-19

The more time you spend at home, the more water you will likely consume. For this reason, it’s imperative to learn how you can sustain water so you can save money on your water bill and doing your bit for the environment. One of the easiest measures to conserve water, not only during this pandemic time, is by ensuring that an aerator is installed at the end of water taps. An aerator, by blowing air into the water flow, reduces the real volume of water flowing out of the tap, while maintaining the pressure of water flow. The most efficient aerators can reduce actual water flow by around 90 per cent, hence more than compensating for the increased use for hand washing.

However, there are other simple ways to save water while at home during the coronavirus pandemic:

Do not leave the tap running while you brush your teeth. A family of four can save up to 200 buckets of water per year by this simple measure. Conserve water because it is the right thing to do.
To save water, energy, detergent, and money, never run the dishwasher without a full load.
When buying a new washing machine or dishwasher, check the water requirements of various brands and models. Some use less water than others.
Kettles should be filled with enough water for your needs but no more. This will reduce your electricity bill too.
Just taking a four-minute shower every day, by playing your favourite four-minute shower song.
Repair dripping taps now! If your tap is dripping at a rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste up to 1900 litres per year, which is a lot of water.
Do not leave the tap running while you brush your teeth. A family of four can save up to 200 buckets of water per year by this simple measure. Conserve water because it is the right thing to do.
Do not use running water to thaw frozen foods. Defrost foods overnight in the refrigerator, which saves even more energy, because as the frozen item thaws, it keeps the fridge cool.
Check if you have leaks by using the online service offered by the Water Services Corporation – www.wsc.com.mt.
You simply need to turn off the water supply using the stop tap inside your property then look at the water meter. If your water meter stops then everything is fine but if your water meter continues to increase, then you have a leak. 
If you have a well start using it! Or invest in a cistern to collect rainwater and start using it to water your plants or trees or for flushing toilets.
If you have a traditional toilet, put a one litre bottle of water in the toilet tank or use the hippo bag found in the kit being distributed on the mobile unit as part of the awareness campaign to promote water efficiency. These kits are being distributed during the Join the Drops Town tour to reduce the volume of water flushed, or better change to a dual-flush system.

A little bit together, saves a lot for each other

These are challenging times. There can be fear, stress, and anxiety related to COVID-19. Yet, this time can be an exceptional opportunity to initiate some good environmental habits in our daily routine, to save water and money. A little bit together, saves a lot for each other. Let’s not allow this extraordinary time to increase our daily physical and mental stress, but instead to help us understand that a little care and common sense go a long way toward minimizing waste and conserve water.

Implementing some of the mentioned tips right away will help you keep your water bill low and conserve water without sacrificing your family’s comfort at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, saving on your water consumption is easier than you think, especially when you facilitate the process by installing water saving devices.

Water – Be the Change

Malta’s national campaign, which was launched last year, Water – Be the Change, is being supported with a nationwide distribution drive called ‘Join the Drops’ tour. During the past months, each and every primary residence in Malta and Gozo started to receive a visit from a campaign-uniformed team of water officers, who are delivering these gift packs directly to their door.

This gift pack, which serves as a starter on how to consume water more efficiently, includes an aerator, which will reduce the flow of water while maintaining the right pressure, and a plate scraper which will ensure that dirty dishes are easier to clean whether in the sink or in the dishwasher.

The pack also includes an information leaflet with water saving tips and a voucher, which can be redeemed against a second bigger water conservation kit. This second kit will include five effective gadgets such as a low flow showerhead, a kitchen aerator, a bathroom aerator, a hippo bag and an on-off switch which are simple to install, and which are guaranteed to reduce water consumption without comprising on quality and flow.

Anyone interested in learning more about their water consumption and how to become more efficient can visit the water.org.mt website to get water saving tips or to book a house visit.

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