Water – What’s your role?
Water plays a part in every aspect of our daily lives. We drink it, wash in it, cook with it, keep our clothes and homes clean and water our gardens with it. Clean water sustains the environment around us, and is essential for supporting the diverse plants, wildlife and landscapes which make Australia unique.
At the same time, in making more room for ourselves in the cities, the permeable space available for water in the cityscape has been squeezed, and when there is nowhere for the excess to go, our streets are flooded. Climate change and population growth mean we have to be more prepared for future changes. Everyone has a role to play in making sure that we all have the water we and the environment needs.
In the home
Make better use of water through improved technology and water-efficient products. Make a game of it with your family or co-dwellers – can we get down to … (e.g.120) litres per person per day from the approximate current level of … (150 litres – check with your water bill) – without impacting on your quality of life. Afterall, you will save money in doing so! Just think of the simple actions everyone can take to reduce the amount of wasted water that escapes unnecessarily down the drain while the tap is running while cleaning your teeth or waiting for the shower to heat up.
For the garden or streetscape
Consider installing water tanks to collect rainwater – they come in all sizes. These are not just for home occupiers – apartment dwellers should be proactive in encouraging the body corporate to install such systems for gardens and swimming pools. Rainwater is kinder to plants than tap water, and collecting it in a water butt/tank not only means less tap water is consumed but that less is taken from the environment. Using a water tank/butt also reduce surface run off. Many new dwellings are using tank water for toilets. Seek out your local plumber to install a system for your toilets.
Devise ways of collecting water – from the kitchen sink to the shower – to be tipped onto trees on your nature strip/footpath. Don’t rely on the local council to maintain your streetscape when you and your neighbours can do something so easily to create a beautiful streetscape to enhance your living environment and your well-being. The gardens below are all watered with rain-water conserved in water tanks – easy to install and cost effective – and importantly adding to your quality of life and local biodiversity conservation.
Jan Couper M.Ed.; M.Env.