Tips for Saving Water
Fresh water is a precious resource in Hong Kong, and we all need to do as much as we can to preserve it. Here you can learn about why water should be saved, how you can do so at home and in the workplace, and the potential that reclaimed water has to improve the condition of our environment.
Why Save Water?
Fresh water is a scarce resource around the world, and particularly so in Hong Kong. Learning how to save water is not difficult, and it can begin with teaching good habits to your children. All you have to do is to think a little about how easy it is to waste water in everyday activities.
Saving Water at Home
The most obvious place to start saving water is at home. There are a few simple tips that will allow you to conserve fresh water by only changing your habits slightly.
- Don't rinse your hands, clothes or vegetables under a running tap – do so in a bowl or sink.
- Turn off the tap while brushing teeth, soaping hands or shaving.
- Take short showers instead of baths.
- If you do have a bath, use the water left over to wash the floor.
- Water plants with the same water used for washing produce.
- Only run washing machines or dishwashers with a full load, and cut down the rinse cycle if possible.
- Fix dripping taps and water mains promptly.
- Use water saving devices, e.g. water efficient showerhead, water tap and washing machine; dual flush cistern for the toilet, and pay attention to water efficiency labels.
- Teach children that water is not for games.
- Control the flow from the tap, do not always turn it to the full.
- Wash cars with a bucket of water and the towel instead of a hose.
- Avoid flushing unnecessarily.
Saving Water at Work
Water can also be saved in the workplace with a little forethought and planning.
- Use manufacturing processes and equipment that are efficient in water use.
- Determine water requirements for each unit of production and check usage frequently.
- Ensure that hot water pipe runs are as short as possible and that cold water pipes are laid away from heated areas.
- Reduce water pressure to the lowest practical level.
- Carry out regular leakage tests on concealed piping and check for overflowing tanks, waste, worn tap washers and other defects in the water supply system.
- Pump cooling water to a condenser or heat exchanger for re-use.
- Collect, dilute and recycle rinsing water.
- Re-use steam by collecting condensation.
- Collect used water for cooling purposes, floor cleaning and yard washing.
- Ensure that bottles, cans, churns and other vessels are fully emptied before they are washed.
- Reduce spillage by keeping the water level in rinsing and washing tanks to a minimum.
- Turn off the water supply system at night and on holidays.
- Place posters and other publicity materials in prominent places to encourage water conservation.
Using Reclaimed Water
A final way in which we can reduce the wastage of fresh water is to use reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is highly treated waste water that is clear in appearance, odourless and safe for non-drinking use. It is suitable for toilet flushing and irrigation, and is being used by the Government in various trial areas throughout Hong Kong. The Government is looking to expand its use in the future, because reclaimed water can minimise pollution to the environment through sewage outflows and relieve the demand for freshwater in a region that supplies only around 20-30% of its own water.More on using reclaimed water