Is your complex really saving water? Advice for residential water management

Living in an apartment block or complex comes with both benefits and drawbacks, with one of the drawbacks being that you are usually unable to make significant changes to household water usage points such as taps, toilets, basins or kitchen sinks. 

Having to adhere to strict building and body corporate rules can make saving water difficult, but here are ways to ensure that not only you, but your entire complex, is saving water in a sustainable manner. 

How can a complex practice water management?

It is not impossible to convince and advise your landlord and body corporate about the needs and benefits of saving water, but you will need to be prepared with solutions as to how they can do so. The following advice can help you prepare a plan for water conservation at your complex. 

Look into installing a water treatment unit

Companies such as PROXA Water provide comprehensive water management systems, including modular skid-mounted or containerised units for residential needs. These units provide water filtration and treatment facilities, which provide potable/drinking water production from various raw water sources such as: seawater, brackish water, river water, aquifers, and reuse abilities. These treatment units may be expensive and could mean that rent is increased in order to pay for them, but they will prove their worth in the long run. 

Invest in a rainwater catchment tank

Installing a rainwater catchment tank in the grounds of the complex will ensure that there is water available for gardens or for when there is an emergency that requires water, such as a fire or during water shedding times. There are large catchment tanks that are more suitable for a large complex, as opposed to smaller ones which are for single home use. This water can also be used for domestic workers when they are cleaning windows or mopping floors rather than them using water from taps which should be saved for drinking. 

Change the garden watering process

Any apartment block or complex value is increased by having garden or green space. However, they also need water use in order to maintain them. To decrease water loss due to evaporation, gardening experts suggest water early in the morning or later in the evening when the weather is cooler. Another expert piece of advice is, instead of giving gardens and flower beds a short watering on a daily basis, rather give garden beds a good soak two to three times a week to promote root growth and drought tolerance. This is also where a rainwater catchment tank will come in handy, as the garden service will be able to use this water when watering plants or garden beds. 

Forgo the fountains

If your complex or apartment block has decorative fountains, landlords or property owners need to ensure that they are switched off. Using water for what is essentially a decorative element is both wasteful of resources and also of money. Unless the property uses borehole water, all fountains and pool equipment should be switched off. Also encourage residents to turn off their water features if the complex has small fenced off gardens for each resident. It may take away from visual appeal, but it will save water and energy in the long run. 

Do a “drip check”

One of the most effective ways to ascertain whether there is any passive water loss happening in the complex or apartment block, is to have the landlord perform a “drip check” or drip inspection. The checks should include any dripping taps, running toilets or dripping shower heads which should be remedied immediately, or as soon as possible. Another way to save water is to install low-flow or eco systems in the units, as most people do not require a large amount of water to shower or a lot of water pressure. 

Educate the complex on how to save water

Education is key to implementing any strategy, so educating the complex or apartment block with tips on how to save water can go a long way. Put up signage in public or common areas, with facts and figures showing how vital water saving is. You should also put up notices regarding any strategies the building will be implementing, so that tenants can be prepared ahead of time. 

Final verdict

In order to assess how much water your complex is really using, performing an audit is one sure way to do so. It will allow you to see where the water loss is happening, which areas or units are using the most water and how this can be changed and addressed. Saving water does not have to be costly and it can be a communal project which can unite tenants in fun and engaging ways. 

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