1. Consider your food choices
Marita Peters Middle East Executive Director for Surge, says: “Meat has a huge water footprint. If we learn more and change our consumption patterns, we can immediately conserve vital natural resources.”
2. Reasess all that shopping
“Reduce overall material consumption as water is used to produce absolutely everything,” Peters says. “Educating ourselves on facts can help us make better choices.”
3. Home in on the issue
In a typical household, the bathroom has the highest usage of water, Peters says. She advises changing personal habits — closing the tap when brushing one’s teeth, using the half-tank option when flushing and taking shorter showers.
4. Is it full yet?
An easy way to lower water consumption — and utility bills — is by running dishwashers and washing machines when they are full. Full loads make the best use of water, energy and detergent, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) advises. And when in the market for a new machine, consider a high-efficiency model that may use an average 30 per cent less water and 40 per cent less energy.
5. Look for leaks
David King, Founder of Save Water UAE, says it’s vital to check for water leakages in and around the home. “About 15-17 per cent of water loss happens this way.”
6. Invest to save
Purchasing simple gadgets can not only reduce water consumption but also reduce utility bills, says King. “Look at fitting simple water savers such as basic aerators and flow regulators, which only cost Dh25 and Dh30 each, and can be fitted easily without specialist tools or professional help.” Low-flow showerheads can reduce water consumption by 50-70 per cent without a visible impact on the bather.
7. Garden with a conscience
Dewa advises watering plants before 8am or after 6pm and avoid watering on windy days. A related suggestion is to only water the lawn when it’s thirsty. To determine this, simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it is time to water.
8. Short spurts are better
When you do actually break out the garden hose, water your plants in several short sessions rather than one long one. For example, three ten-minute sessions paced 30 minutes to an hour apart will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture than one straight 30-minute session, Dewa advises.
9. Tech up your act
Dewa also recommends taking the tech route for plants. Install moisture sensors in each zone — sunny, shaded or other — to better determine irrigation needs.
10. Pick appropriate plants
Succulents and other desert flora are ideal for UAE gardens because they are well-suited to the local climate. Plants such as these require minimal watering and provide the benefits of green environment without strain on water supplies.
— With input from the GN Focus team