Easy ways to conserve water in your home and garden

Jene J. Long

About one third of water used in our homes is flushed away through the toilet. If you have an older-style toilet, each flush could be using up to 14 litres of water. If a new water-saving toilet is out of your budget, it is very easy to reduce the amount of water being flushed away. You can install a cistern displacement device in your toilet, or for a quicker result, fill a plastic bottle with water and place it in your cistern. Depending on the size of the bottle, the volume of water in the flush can be reduced by up to 3 litres. Just make sure it does not block any of the moving parts in the cistern, as this might cause issues.


We live in a famously rainy country, so we might as well make the most of the situation. Gardeners in particular can save a lot of water by installing a water butt to collect rainwater from your gutters. The collected liquid can be used to water your garden or wash your yard. Plus, many plants prefer rainwater over tap water. Chemicals, minerals and salts are added to the drinking water in our pipes, which is fine for humans but not ideals for plants. If you use rainwater from a water butt, it is softer and does not contain ingredients that are harmful for plants.


Not only is that persistent drip annoying, it’s wasting water. The European Environmental Agency says a dripping tap can waste as much as one litre of water per hour – that wasted water would fill a bathtub within a week. For extra water savings, don’t let the tap run while you brush your teeth or shave and check the ground above your pipes regularly for signs of leaks.

Car wash 

Using a hose to wash your car is very easy, but have you ever wondered how much water it wastes? While washing with a bucket of water instead of a hose would be better for a DIY job, you might be surprised at how water-efficient your local car wash is. Many commercial car washes now use reclaimed water to clean cars. According to Express Car Wash in Dublin: “The water is treated with detergents, used to break up dirt and grime to clean the car, and then sucked back up into a system that filters out heavy compounds and skims off light chemicals, leaving the regular water ready for re-use. Reverse osmosis systems add extra purification to the process, distilling water until it is even cleaner than your average tap water for a truly spot-free rinse, so your final product, a clean car, looks great.” They add that car washes using reclaimed water use the equivalent of less than two toilet flushes.

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