Saving Water in Small Spaces
How to Save Water by Using Small Water Tanks.
Mark Gaykema | Monique SC
3 November 2016
Water is a precious commodity. There are a number of ways in which you can reduce your water consumption and also ways that you can increase the efficiency of the water you use. One of the best ways you can improve your water efficiency at home is by installing a water tank, however, space is one of biggest barrier to water tank adoption. What can you do if you don’t have the room for a traditional space hungry water tank? We’ve broken down the different types of space saving water tanks designed to work in small spaces for you.
Before we dive in it is also worth noting that you don’t need a massive water tank to save a significant amount of water. A study by the ACT Government reveals that if you live in a typical townhouse and you divert just one of your downpipes to a water tank you can save about 25kL a year with a 500-litre tank. Alternatively, you could occupy your entire courtyard with a 30,000-litre tank and only save an additional 5kL. So with that in mind here we go for the small spaces water tank summary.
No water tanks summary would be complete without mentioning the slimline water tank. It is the original space-saving water tank and it has done a fantastic job of bringing water tanks into our suburban homes. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes from the ultra-thin to the not so slim. Pretty much everyone is aware of this type of water tank but with current trends towards higher density living they are still too space hungry for many households so let’s move on.
Furniture rainwater tanks are the newest products on this list and they are particularly targeted at modern subdivisions and townhouses with courtyards. They offer an attractive alternative to other water tanks and because they are dual-purpose you also gain an outdoor entertaining area at the same time. It is a win for you and your guests. The photo below shows an installed water tank lounge (yes that gray lounge is a water tank!). There is currently only one company we know of that sells these but they do delivery Australia wide. Visit Rose Mark Water Tanks for more information.
Bladder tanks are made from a flexible membrane which is designed to be hidden away under your house or deck. The flexible membrane allows it to be installed in tight places without the need for any major renovations. They come in any number of sizes to suit pier spacing and house configuration and there are a number of suppliers available.
The Rectangle Tank
Rectangle tanks are rigid water tanks designed to fit under decks. They are more limited in their ability to fit through tight spaces during installation than the bladder tanks but they are also significantly cheaper. Rectangle / under deck tanks come in many shapes and sizes to fit under most elevated decks and there are a number of suppliers available.
In-Ground / Underground Water Tanks
Underground water tanks provide the ultimate in space saving because they only occupy space under ground. The biggest drawback is obviously that you need to dig up the ground to put it there. These are best suited to new developments so you can plan for them without needing to dig up your nicely manicured yard. Underground tanks come in all shapes and sizes and colours too (not that you’ll ever see the colour).
How to Save Water Tips
Beyond water tanks, there are other simple things you can do to save water at home in your small spaces. Watering your garden is one of the biggest uses of water in most households. Here are a few of tips for being a bit more water efficient in that process:
- Improve soil type in order for it to hold a greater water capacity.
- Mulch after planting. This also helps reduce runoff.
- Plant trees to create natural shade.
- Plant or create windbreaks.
- Use drip irrigation to water plants.
- Water in the early morning or in the evening.
Other ways that you can reduce water consumption outside:
- Build pools in shady areas and makes sure pools are covered.
- Sweep driveways (rather than using water).
- Group plants together by water consumption.
- Consider using trees and shrubs that require very little water such as native Australian plants.
- Reduce lawn area and select a type of lawn that needs less water.
- Install and use alternative water sources such as rain or gray water.
- Fix leaks and drips as soon as possible.
Inside our home
Just for good measure just because you might have a small space outside doesn’t mean you can’t make changes inside too. Here are some useful tips for reducing water consumption inside you home:
- Install water efficient appliances and fixtures.(showers, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers)
Look for WELS water ratings to ensure water efficiency.
- Fix leaks and drips as soon as possible.
- Have a rainwater tank internally plumbed to the toilet and use the half flush where possible.
- Use a bucket to catch water in the shower and reuse for hand washing clothes or in the garden.
- Take shorter showers and do not overfill the bath.
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
- Use gray water from the washing machine in the garden.
- Only put on the dishwasher or washing machine when it is full.
- If you have two sinks, use one for rinsing dishes when washing rather than using a running tap.