Day 20: Improve your water efficiency

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Everyone needs water to survive, however not everyone in the world today has enough water to meet their basic needs.

Some facts about water usage :

  • A person's recommended water usage for basic needs is 50L

  • Half of the world's population uses 95L of water per day

  • A person who lives in industrial countries (like New Zealand) uses 200L of water per day

  • A person living in water-stressed countries (like Niger) uses less than 10L per day

In New Zealand the average person uses 227L of water per day.

Some numbers about water usage for an average New Zealander :

  • Toilet = 86L/day

  • Bathing & Hygiene = 68L/day

  • Laundry = 36L/day

  • Kitchen = 32L/day

  • Housekeeping = 5L/day


Every litre of tap water produced and distributed uses resources and energy. These resources are progressively disappearing while our needs keep on increasing.

Here’s how much water you use in your daily living :

  • Toilet flush = 6L/full flush

  • Taps = 10L/minute

  • Dish washing (by hand) = 6L

  • Drinking water = 3L/person/day

  • Shower = 15L/minute

  • Bath = about 90L

  • Garden hose = 15L/minute

  • Washing machine = 100L/full load

  • Cooking = about 1.5L/pot

How can I reduce my personal water usage?

  • Hand wash your clothes if you only have a few items to clean

  • Start timing your showers (less than 4 min)

  • Get a water-saving showerhead

  • Reduce how frequently you wash your clothes (washing a full machine load of clothes uses less water and energy than 2 half-loads)

  • Use a dishwasher instead of handwashing

  • Flush the toilet less often or get a low flush toilet

  • Collect rain water to water your garden

  • Turn off your tap while brushing your teeth

  • Boil only what you need (saves energy too !)

  • Eat less meat and dairy (farming animals for meat and dairy is incredibly water-intensive)

  • Steam your veggies (also retains more of the natural nutrients)

  • When you boil veggies, use the leftover water as a tasty stock for soups or let it cool and use it to water plants

  • Reduce your food waste, buy only what you need - it takes a lot of water to produce our food

  • Water outdoor plants in the early morning or during the evening to stop water immediately evaporating

  • Regularly check your kitchen and pipes and the dishwasher hose for leaks

  • Make sure you know where your savings and pension are invested and don’t fund companies that contribute to water scarcity and pollution

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