Welcome people to the world of drought, wildfires and water conservation, here Downunder these are old friends that we know well.
Australia is a very dry country, we have very little free standing water and no major lakes.
Most of the country is arid or desert, yet our trees and animals have adapted to this constant drought. In fact, some of our gum trees only germinate due to the intense heat from bushfires.
We, humans on the other hand have been a little slow to take up this message, but we have now chosen to act and wisely too.
Here in Victoria, a southern state, we have a number of water conservation issues that I would like to share:
1. No using hoses to wash paths, gutter or anything else, if you can't use a broom and a bucket to clean it don't do it.
2. Cut the end of an old 2 litre (quart) bottle into the ground at the base of your trees. This allows you to fill up the bottle and deliver water only to the tree you want to water.
3. All our toilets are equipped with a two stage flush unit, half flush for urine and a full flush for the harder stuff. This reduces most of the water regularly flushed away.
4. Install water tanks and gather the rain water from the roof, this allows you to water the garden, or lawns.
5. Place a plastic bottle full of water into the cistern, of your toilets, this will reduce the amount of water your cistern will normally hold.
6. Grey water storage, water from the laundry, bathroom and kitchen sinks, as well as showers and baths is captured and used to flush toilets or sprayed directly onto the garden. By law, grey water can only be stored 24 hours and must be used.
7. Replace the shower heads around the home with new water saving, shower heads, if you can't find any, find a washer that is the same diameter as the water pipe and place this in the shower head.
8. Swimming pools can only be installed provided you supply the council with a plan on how you can save the equivalent amount of a swimming pools water evaporation over 12 months.
9. Use mulch, or hay/straw on your garden beds to reduce evaporation.
10. Plant Australian Native plants (bloody things can do amazing things without water).
11. For homes in areas that are prone to bushfire, we reduce the amount of undergrowth around trees in your garden and install garden water sprinkers onto your roof, feed the water by pump from your water tanks (helps during a fire period, keeps the area around you house green and keeps it we during a bush fire).
12. No washing of cars, cars can only be washed at commercial car washes that recycle over 60% of the water used, using filters and other systems to trap pollutants.
13. Reduce the amount of lawn you have, we are now very big on patios and outdoor areas, but very much moving away from lawns and other large areas of gardens. Rock gardens, and small water features are helping us keep wonderful gardens, that require very little (if any) external water to keep them looking good.
These are just a few tips that have helped, we, Victorians drop our water usage over 60% in the last 4 years.
Hope they help.