Water Wise Plumbing
It’s a no-brainer that in a dry continent like Australia, people are keen on water-wise plumbing. Throw in some extremes of weather along with El Nino and we get even worse drought issues.
Can you save water and money with some retrofit changes to your house and habits? Here’s a couple of ideas to get you thinking:
J Sutton Plumbing tell us that water harvesting means collecting the rainwater off your roof, and possibly other surfaces, and storing it in a tank to be used later. Rainwater is great for gardens and flushing the toilet. You can also use it for filling the swimming pool and washing the car. And the big attraction for collected rainwater? It’s free, so it can reduce your water bill.
Most households, if not all, can install a tank and collect the rainwater off the roof. Your driveway is a good option for collecting ground runoff. In apartments, rain can be collected for the whole building and the water can be used to benefit all the residents. Think small gardens, for instance.
Do the Math
Before embarking on tank purchase and installation, it’s a good idea to get some data together. What size tank do you need? What is the area of my roof? What is the average rainfall where I live? Is there room for the tank and to what use will I put the water? Where is the tank best situated for optimal rain harvesting and should the tank be connected to the household mains so the water can be used indoors – flushing toilets for example. Think about this – using rainwater for your toilets, laundry and gardening will save you 70% of your annual water bill!
Also check with your local council about incentives or rebates that may apply if you go down that harvesting path. Councils are well up to date with sustainability issues and can point you in the right direction to specialists who can help with your project.
Greywater is the recycling of your household water to use again in areas like your garden. From where does that greywater come? It’s the water from your bath, shower, washing machine and kitchen that accounts for 70% of your household water use. The water can also be used to flush toilets if the plumbing is installed that way. While some environmentally conscious people already use buckets to disperse their greywater, systems can be installed to do it automatically.
There are two ways:
- A diversion system redirects the water to where you want it to go, so there is no storage or treatment of the greywater.
- A plumbed-in system includes a pump, a water treatment set up and irrigation, usually underground. These plumbed-in systems are becoming popular with newer buildings. They can be set up to provide water for flushing the toilet and the irrigation is for the garden.
- You will need to budget about $10,000 as well as having enough room to store and treat the water.
Don’t forget to get council approval for the plumbed-in system to treat greywater. The installation job has to be done by a licensed, professional plumber.