Cut water waste this summer and save money

Recent cut-offs and restrictions have brought home to many consumers just what a scarce - and costly - resource water is becoming in SA, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.
And the shortages are especially evident in summer, he says, so homeowners should be doing everything they can right now to cut usage and keep their bills down. Some suggestions from water-saving experts include the following:
*Water early and late. Set sprinkler systems to water your lawn and garden beds in the pre-dawn or post-sunset hours. Without the sun competing for your water, you’ll have more water going into the soil than evaporating and you will be able to water less frequently.
*Don’t water the driveway or patio. Check your sprinklers regularly to ensure that they are working properly and spraying water where you want it. Directional sprinkler heads will ensure that your watering rands are only spent on things that grow.
 *Install rain sensors. Available from good hardware shops and irrigation equipment suppliers, these sensors will override a sprinkler system’s settings so you don’t double up on Mother Nature.
*Save the rain. Putting water barrels or rain tanks under your downpipes to collect storm runoff from your roof is one of the best ways to keep outdoor water usage down. You can use the water to fill watering cans or buckets and water wherever your sprinkler system doesn’t reach. If you install the tanks on platforms you may also be able to generate enough pressure to run a hose.
*Don’t pressure wash anything. Use a rake, broom or leaf vacuum to clean up your lawn or driveway, and a bucket and sponge to wash your car.
*Check for leaks. Attend to any dripping taps immediately and check regularly for unseen leaks by turning off all your taps indoors and out (including the water supply to the toilet) and looking to see if your water meter is still turning. If it is, call an expert to find and fix the problem as soon as possible, because even a small leak could cost you hundreds of rands a year. A dripping tap wastes about a litre of water per hour or more.

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