Do we even know how much water we waste on a daily basis in our kitchen? I think back on times I have quickly washed a few dishes under a running tap, accidentally left the tap running or boiled my vegetables in too much water.
It is so easy to unconsciously use copious amount of water in your kitchen.
The average South African uses 250 litres of water in their household per day, according to Cape Water Solutions. That adds up to 7500 litres used per month. A significant portion of that water is used in the kitchen for cooking, cleaning and consumption.
Roughly 3% of household water usage takes place in the kitchen for cooking and consumption. Then you still need to factor washing up after the cooking. Now comes the next question: hand wash or dishwasher?
Handwash versus the Dishwasher
If you do wash your dishes by hand, remember to plug the basin. Running water while you wash your dishes can very easily waste litres of water. Remember, the average tap flows at 6 litres per minute. If you spend eight minutes washing dishes that’s already 48 litres of water gone!
According to the Environmental Protection Agency in America, using a dishwashing machine can save up to 19 000 litres of water per year. In fact, the average dishwasher uses only 22 litres per cycle. This comes in handy especially when cleaning large amounts of dishes. Remember, only start the cycle once the dishwasher is stacked full!
Saving water while cooking
There are many nifty little ways to save water while you are in the process of making your meal. Follow these small, simple steps to be water savvy in the kitchen:
- Rinse your vegetables over a pot rather than under a running tap.
- Steam rather than boil your food, this uses less water and keeps your vegetables nutrient rich.
- Do not defrost frozen produce under running water, rather plan ahead and let them defrost overnight.
- Use leftover water from steaming your food to water the plants – they will be grateful!
- Use a peeler to get rid of grit and dirt instead of washing the veggies.
- Ensure that your taps do not leak.
Calculating your Water Footprint
As mentioned, the average South African household uses 250 litres of water per day. Use this online calculator to see how your household compares. This Australian online water calculator was developed by Hunter Water. It has a comprehensive list of questions to establish precise water usage in your household.
If there are any other neat tricks you can think of to cut water usage at home, please comment below.