Tips to reduce water consumption
According to a UNESCO report published in 2021, “global freshwater use has increased by a factor of six over the past 100 years and continues to grow at a rate of roughly 1% per year since the 1980s”. Taking into account climate change and global population growth, “blue gold” is a dwindling resource. Below we have outlined a series of good practices to adopt to preserve this increasingly precious natural resource.
Watch out for leaks: According to the Portuguese water company (EPAL), a faulty tap or flush can lead to a waste of water ranging from 2 to 100 m3 per month. We recommend to check that none of your sanitary appliances are leaking, read your water meter before going to bed and check the next day that the figure has not changed. Also comparing your water bills regularly will identify a potential invisible leak in the pipes.
Adopt a reasonable consumption regime: For domestic use, the most important use of water is associated to hygiene (bathing and showering – around 39%), according to a report by EPAL and the Portuguese National Energy Agency (ADENE). We therefore recommend giving preference to showers over baths and turning off the water when brushing your teeth.
Invest in innovative equipment and appliances: There are many innovations now on the market that can help you reduce your water bill and limit waste. Starting with an eco-friendly shower head, which allows you to control the water flow and some even have filter balls to improve water quality. For wc's, it is recommended to adopt a dual flush or place a water saving bag in the tank. For taps, it is possible to install a water saving aerator, which will reduce the water flow without reducing the comfort.
Saving rainwater: More and more people are investing in a recuperator to use rainwater to water the garden or flush the toilet. While rainwater has financial and ecological advantages, it is also a good way to preserve your pipes because rainwater is softer than spring water. However, this practice is particularly regulated and in Portugal where network water and rainwater use cannot be mixed. The two systems must be independent. It is essential to know from the design stage of a new project about the regulations in force and adopt a rainwater harvesting system accordingly
Sensible use of water in the garden: Water consumption used by the maintenance of a garden can be considerable. It is recommended to water in the evening or early morning in the Algarve to avoid evaporation and not to water unnecessarily. Of course ideally if you can used stored rainwater this is a great help. Switching to a programmable drip irrigation system, to control water consumption and adapt it to the needs of your garden can certainly help reduce water consumption and of course adopting a policy of planting as many drought tolerant plants in your garden