20 Simple Steps to Help Conserve Water

1.     Shower:
Cut down the number of showers. If possible, shower only once a day after work. Switch off shower when soaping and shampooing. Do not over-use soap or shampoo as this will need more water for rinsing. Use “organic-based” soap and shampoo. They are less “soapy” and less water is needed to rinse them off. Do not switch the shower on full blast. Cut short your shower time.

2.     Brushing teeth:
Use a cup of water for brushing your teeth instead of a running tap.

3.     Washing face:
Use a wet towel instead of a running tap.

4.     Hair style:
Short hair definitely requires less water to wash and clean. So why not do your bit to save water? After all, many have shaved their heads bald when some football team won.

5.     Toilet use:
Use the squatting toilet for short calls. Pour used water (from washing hands or vegetables) into toilet instead of flushing. For those without the squatting toilet, install a “dual flush” mechanism to your flush system. This system is available in the market. Compared to the conventional flush which uses 10 litres per flush, the dual-flush method uses only 6 litres for a full flush and 3 litres for a half-flush. Based on this system, a person can save at least 50 litres per day (The Sun, 30 May 1998).

A simple way of reducing the amount of water flushed would be to put a brick or two into your WC cistern. This way, the water flushed is automatically “halved”. If you need a full flush (in the case of defaecating), then just remove the bricks temporarily.

6.     Washing car:
Reduce car washes. If possible, stop washing your car. If you really need to (for those who really love their cars), use a bucket and a cloth. Never use a hose.

7.     Recycling – Collect used water for other uses:
Collect used water by putting a bucket beneath tap. Water used for washing hands, vegetables and rinsing dishes can be used again for watering plants or for flushing the toilet.

8.     Rainwater harvesting:
Collect rain water (if it rains) and use it for washing the car, the floor or for watering plants. In many remote kampongs and villages, rainwater harvesting from rooftops is a viable and practical method of trapping water.

9.     Collecting water from upstairs:
People living in houses/apartments with more than one story can ask the plumber to do a minor connection to collect used water from showering and washing hands to be re-used for watering plants or washing the car or floors.

10.  Stay home more:
Reduce going out, especially during the day when it is hot. You will need to drink less water, wash fewer clothes and take fewer showers. In fact, it also helps save money and this will help the country’s economy as well.

11.  Watering plants:
Use recycled water. Never use the garden host. Use a water bucket instead. Water sparingly. Put a plate under each flower pot to retain water from leaking out of the pots.

12.  Cleaning floors:
Never use a hose or pour water over the floor for washing. Always use a mop. Use a “no-rinse” washing liquid. Sweep the floor more often. This way, it clears dust fast and stops it from accumulating.

13.  Cooking:
Try not to do too much deep frying or the cooking of oily food. The cleaning and washing up of pots and pans, as well as the walls and floors after oily cooking can waste a lot of water, not forgetting the hard work. Instead, prepare more fresh food (e.g. salad and fruits) and cook more steamed food, all of which are healthier for the body. Water used for washing vegetables can also be recycled for other uses.

14.  Clothing:
Try to wear cotton clothes that are not too thick or woolly. For those working in air-conditioned places, clothes can be worn twice before they are washed. However, be careful not to carry it to the extreme until hygiene is sacrificed.

15.  Washing clothes:
Wait until a full load is accumulated before washing. Use environmentally friendly washing powder. They are less soapy and are not harmful to the environment. In fact, one can collect the effluent water from such washing powder for re-use (washing cars, watering plants. washing shoes etc.). For hand washing, use water sparingly.

16.  Sports:
Reduce indulging in sweaty sports that require changing a lot of clothes. For example, some sports like squash and badminton require the change of many T-shirts during one single session. Imagine coming home with all those sweaty clothes when your mother/wife has no water to wash them! Choose something like swimming or running. For all sports, use only one T-shirt.

17.  River water:
Those living within the vicinity of a river should attempt to use the river water for washing purposes but not as drinking water. In the remote areas, rivers are the common bath and launder for all. However, a word of caution here: check out the quality of the river water first. If you are not sure, check with the Department of Environment.

18.  Springs:
Those living within the vicinity of hills should attempt to locate springs from which water can be collected. Spring water can even be used for drinking (after filtration and boiling) as well as for general washing purposes. In the remote areas and islands (such as Perhentian and Redang), springs are important water sources. However, to be sure that the water is okay, check with the Department of Environment first.

19.  Wells:
Wells are important water sources in the rural areas. Those living in low-lying areas (where the water table is shallow) with a large house compound can dig and construct wells. Well water can then be used for general washing but not for drinking. Built nicely to blend in with the surrounding environment, a well can be aesthetically pleasing and add character to a house. However, check with the town council/local authority concerned before you dig a well.

20.  Report leakage, damage and water thefts immediately:
Report leakage of all pipes and mains. Don’t wait for others to do the job or hoping/thinking that others have done it. Report all suspected water thefts to the relevant authorities. You may even get a reward for it.

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