Saving water: It comes naturally
It’s in the bathroom that the most water is consumed. It’s a good reflex to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving. If you do renovations, replacing old toilets with new models with small tanks (6 litres or less) is becoming the standard. It is also worth installing a shower equipped with a low-flow shower head allowing you to use 50% less water when you shower. That way, when the summer heat comes, there’s no need to deprive yourself of those refreshing moments!
When it comes to appliances, go for the low-consumption products with WaterSense® labels. In general, all new models of washing machines or dishwashers consume less water.
Finally, with respect to plumbing, insulating water pipes helps to produce hot water faster. This avoids wasting water while it heats up. Furthermore, what could be easier than keeping a jug in the refrigerator instead of letting the water run until it’s cold?
In the garden
The conscientious gardener’s worst enemy is poor watering. When we know that overwatering results in 50% of the water being lost through evaporation or runoff, we think twice before turning the system on! Fortunately, you can have beautiful landscaping arrangements without wasting water by selecting hardier plants, and there are many wonderful ones to choose from! When using a removable sprinkler, respect the watering schedule set by the municipality. Even number addresses may water on even dates, odd number addresses on odd dates, and always between 8 and 11 pm.
For those using an automatic sprinkler system for the lawn or garden, it is essential to program watering hours only between 3 and 6 am. And again, even number addresses may water on even dates, odd number addresses on odd dates. And, of course, we don’t water when it rains!
The new municipal by-law is very strict on the use of city water. For example, you may only fill the pool in the evening and at night and a landscaped water feature with a waterfall or a stream of water must have a water recirculation system.
Is it raining?
The water cycle in the city must meet another requirement: not overloading the sewer system, especially during periods of heavy rain, as it increases the risk of local flooding or sewer discharge.
Very simple individual gestures make all the difference: for example, disconnect your drainpipes from the foundation drain ("French drain") or prevent the water from flowing to an impervious surface such as asphalt.
Drainpipes should be directed towards the lawn, flower beds, cedar hedge or vegetable garden because these permeable surfaces can absorb water. To protect the foundation, don’t forget to leave at least 1.5 metres between the pipe and the building. And, of course, you should never direct your drainpipes towards your neighbour's property!
Why not take the opportunity to make a "rain garden"? It’s a horticultural layout in a slight dip in the ground where water coming from the drainpipe is directed. It should be placed ideally at 4 metres from the foundations.
Have you considered installing a barrel under your drainpipe to collect rainwater? This is another simple idea to reduce the amount of water sent to the sewer and to save drinking water. In addition, rainwater is better for plants and vegetables than chlorinated water!
Tip: place the barrel at a certain height to capitalize on gravity when watering and direct the overflow to the garden or the lawn. Ready-to-install kits are available in hardware stores.
Protecting your house
Nobody wants to have a sewer backup in their house or in their neighbourhood. As episodes of intense rainfall are becoming more frequent, sanitary sewers and basement drains must be equipped with a check valve. If you have a garage, make sure that the driveway entrance is higher than the street and that you have an outdoor trench pit of adequate size and in good condition at the bottom of the slope of the garage entrance.
- Washing your car with a hose can waste up to 400 litres of water. Instead, opt for a bucket and sponge and a water gun with a manual shutdown.
- Repairing a leaky faucet can save 770 litres of water per day, the equivalent of a large waste container.
- Using a low-flush toilet reduces yearly water consumption by 13,000 litres.
- Installing a barrel to collect rainwater can divert 80,000 litres of water per year away from the city sewage system.
To find out more about the by-law and best practices, go to Eau de Montréal