Water scarcity is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Millions of people around the world are affected by it every day and, according to estimates by the United Nations, that number will rise to 40% of the world’s population by 2030. That makes doing our part in conserving water more important than ever. With the start of the dry summer months, let’s take a look at what you can do to contribute – both at home, and in your properties.
The world’s water challenges may seem daunting, but every contribution helps. The real estate sector has the opportunity to make a significant impact on water conservation and responsible water management, directly – through the construction and management of properties – and indirectly – through its influence on the consumption of its tenants.
By reducing waste, implementing responsible management of water consumption, and taking precautions for both droughts and floods, we can save millions of liters of water – and reduce carbon emissions while we’re at it. Because heating water, purifying seawater, and treating wastewater all produce significant amounts of CO2. So, what can we do?
1. Turn Off the Tap
Many of us don’t realize how much water flows through our taps, and how much we’re wasting when leaving them running. The flow rates on taps and showers can be 15 to 20 liters per minute, and even in households with the ideal pressure and flow rate, it’s still 6 to 9 liters per minute. That means small actions like turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and cutting your time in the shower by even a minute or two, already saves dozens of liters of water each day. And if every member of your household does the same, that adds up quickly.
2. Collect & Reuse Water
Limiting waste can be done in multiple ways. By installing rain barrels in your garden, you don’t have to turn on the taps to water your plants. The water you’ve just used to boil your spaghetti can do the same, once it’s cooled down. You can also collect shower water in a bucket while you’re waiting for the water to reach the desired temperature. Water some more plants or, for example, use it to flush your toilet. And while on the subject: at home, you don’t need to flush after every toilet visit. Keep in mind what they say in Australia during a drought: Is it brown? Flush it down. Is it yellow? Let it mellow!
3. Install Water-Saving Measures
Many household appliances and installations are not the most water efficient. Especially older toilets. With every flush, a large amount of water goes straight into the wastewater network. A simple at-home method is putting a full water bottle or two in the tank of your toilet, so it can’t fill up as much it normally would. Make you have enough water to properly flush though, because two reduced water flushes are worse than a single full one.
When you’re doing laundry, make sure you only do a full load: a half-filled machine uses just as much water as a full one. And lower the temperature while you’re at it: heating water costs a lot of energy. If you have the budget – either as a homeowner or a property owner – there’s more you can do. Think of installing dual-flush toilets, opt for water-efficient washing machines and dishwashers.
4. Tweak the Pressure & Flow
Adjusting the pressure and flow rates in your building is another relatively easy opportunity to save water. Your maintenance team can adjust the overall pressure in the property, so water still comfortably reaches the upper levels, meaning that you don’t have to compromise on the comfort and convenience of your tenants. By installing aerators on the taps and water-saving showerheads you’ll save even more precious clean water.
5. Check for Leaks
Finding and fixing leaks in your pipes or installations can help save significant amounts of water. We usually think of broken pipes and flooded basements when we’re talking about leaks – the ones that are hard to spot. But most leaks aren’t visible straightaway, while continuously leaking, potentially damaging buildings and steadily wasting water. Think of a toilet that never stops running, or a quietly leaking pipe in the basement. Our remote water monitoring system tracks your consumption and checks for leaks and other abnormalities in real-time, sending out alerts to make sure you can detect the problem early on and prevent waste or damage.
6. Implement a Clear Water Efficiency Strategy
To create a truly water efficient portfolio, you first need a thorough understanding of your water consumption – and that’s what Smartvatten is here for. A water-saving survey examines the state of your water supply, installations, and sanitation system. With high-quality data on your consumption, leaks, and the impact of water-saving measures you implement, as well as their effect on your carbon emissions, you can evaluate how your properties are doing and how much progress you’re making. Together, we can map out a plan to upgrade your properties and reduce both waste and costs, and help you implement improvements and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Want to learn more about how our water efficiency service can help you contribute to preventing water scarcity? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!