Rational management of water resources and water savings, as well as the need to cultivate a new water management culture, are vital in order safeguard the needs of modern society and our ecosystems.
Research conducted by prestigious international organisations has ranked Greece high in the list of countries with unwarranted water consumption and unreasonable degradation of ecosystems. The way in which we manage critical sectors such as crops, planning, fisheries, use of fossil fuels is anything but ‘green’, meaning that every year many hectares of ‘living space’ per resident are ‘sacrificed’.
Consumption of massive quantities of water to irrigate water-thirsty crops and the dramatic decline in reserves because of climate change, among other things are major ‘concerns’ for modern societies. However, in order to adopt a comprehensive, uniform policy to manage and protect water resources it’s essential to provide citizens with information and raise their awareness, and also to get them involved in taking decisions and implementing them.
Water savings at home could be as high as 50% if only we adopted some of the practical tips below.
Tips for rational use – saving water at home
- Tips for rational use – saving water at home
Turn off taps when not in use, as while brushing teeth, shaving, soaping your hands/face or the dishes. By letting the tap run for five minutes, water wastage can reach up to 20 litres. For one million people, that means wasting 20,000 m3 of water a day!
- Flushing the toiler accounts for 1/3 of all water used in the home. Replace old cisterns with new, double flow ones, or fix the floater.
- Showers/bathing use up around 1/5 of all water used at home. Prefer a quick shower with moderate water pressure instead of filling your bathtub.
- Use your washing machine and dishwasher when relatively full and choose eco programs.
- Don’t neglect any leaks in the house’s plumbing. Immediately repair leaky taps, cisterns or plumbing.
- Make sure everyone in the family knows where the main water supply stopcock is in the event of leaks or flooding.
Use the suggestions below to change your everyday kitchen habits.
- Reduce the household utensils that require washing (use one glass for drinking water per day and appropriately sized cooking utensils).
- Keep cold water in bottles in the fridge instead of letting the tap run.
- Recycle suitable water from household uses, such from washing fruit and vegetables, for watering your plants.
- Do not use running water to defrost food; defrost gradually by moving to the fridge and then to room temperature.
Tips for rational use – saving water outdoors
- Wash your car with a bucket rather than with a hosepipe, as this reduces water wastage.
- Clean the open spaces of our house like balconies & terraces by sweeping/mopping and not with a hosepipe.
- Avoid washing your balconies, the pavement and your car during a drought or when there are water supply problems.
- Do not overwater your garden. Water early in the morning or in the evening, as this reduces evaporation losses. Set the automatic watering system so that all water can be used.
- Choose plants suitable for the climatic conditions of your area. Avoid planting grass as it requires excessive watering.
Tips for avoiding problems due to frost.
- We first locate where the water meter of our house is, as well as the places where the main and peripheral water supply switches are located.
- We check and make sure that the switches (valves) of our internal water supply network open and close and work properly. We check our private water supply network for any leaks or damage.
- We take care of the restoration or installation of insulation in vulnerable areas of our external private network by specialized craftsmen. Hydrometers located in exposed drains – cabinets and mainly in areas around the urban perimeter are even more vulnerable to frost. In case the water meters freeze, we do not heat them with burners and other heating means, because we are more likely to burn them and create bigger problems, so we wait for them to defrost on their own.
- We keep the gutters clean of leaves and rubbish on balconies and terraces. We make sure they work smoothly.
- In case of a long absence in winter, we isolate or empty the network of the solar water heater and the central water supply of our house.
In implementation of JMD 80568-4225-91 “Methods, conditions and restrictions for the use of sludge from domestic and urban waste treatment in agriculture”, upon authorisation by the competent Regional Authority, the calcified sludge stored from previous years is applied to agricultural crops, in the framework of an action implemented since 2011. The committee responsible for authorisations, composed of members of the Environmental, Health and Rural Development Divisions, following a thorough analysis of the soils to be fertilised and sludge sampling, decides on the amount of sludge to be issued per hectare as a fertiliser, thus limiting the amount of chemical fertilisers used. This method of sludge disposal represents a sustainable and eco-friendly action; it is welcomed by farmers in the surrounding areas and has been gaining popularity over time, as it has been adopted in many rural areas (taking part and benefiting from the action each year).
A thermal drying unit of the dehydrated sludge has been in operation since the end of 2011; now, all sludge is led there, producing a hygienised product with grain sizes of 1-4mm and over 92% dryness. This daily quantity (about 20 tons) is received by companies licensed for its management and further utilisation in final product form as a soil enhancer-fertiliser for application to agricultural crops.
Various things that make their way every day into our home’s sinks, washbasins, toilet bowls, bathroom and balcony gutters lead to clogged drains. The sewage system requires particular attention; some simple things we can do every day can delay the clogging of drains; in addition to saving money for your apartment building and household, this will also help improve the operation of the sewerage network, make the operation of wastewater treatment plants (biological treatment) more efficient and consequently reduce the environmental impact.
For these reasons, avoid throwing the following down your drains:
Such as toilet paper, tissues and napkins, which are the most frequent cause of clogged drains. Even in the case of things like biodegradable toilet paper, it is best to throw such materials in bins and not in the toilet bowl.
- Hair – Soaps
Such items, which end up down the drain when you are washing your body, can also cause serious problems in the sewage system as balls of hair and soap with water stick to the piping and accumulate there, gradually leading to the clogging of the drains. To avoid or at least limit this problem, use cheap plastic or metal catchers, which you can easily find on the market. These catchers catch the hair, which can then be collected with the aid of paper and discarded in the bin.
- Food waste – edible fats and oils and frying oils
Such materials, which mainly block sink drains, stick to the drain walls and also tend to accumulate, like materials in Category 2. It is recommended that all food waste, except edible fats and oils, be disposed of in waste bins before you wash the dishes. Edible fats, oils and frying oils can be handled as described here.
- Personal hygiene products
Personal hygiene products include nappies, cotton, Q tips, baby wipes, sanitary towels, tampons, dental floss and adhesive dressings. When the above are thrown down the drain, they expand due to the absorption of water, almost directly clogging the drains. It is recommended that personal hygiene products be thrown in the bin and never in the toilet bowl.
The last category includes a large list of materials that cannot be classified in one of the above categories. Examples include cigarette butts, cosmetics, building or renovation materials (e.g. paints, cement, stucco, rubble, etc.), protective gloves, packaging materials, which should be handled in such a way as to avoid clogging the drains and always with a focus on Environmental Protection.