Tips to avoid water waste and to require the preservation of hydro-resources

Small savings combined bring large results.

In the bathroom :
It is the place where most water is used at home.
Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, shaving or soaping your hands.
Do not take long baths. Try to limit them to 6 minutes. Turn off the shower while soaping up. Only turn on the shower after taking off all your clothes.
A single flush wastes a lot of water. Do not flush unnecessarily and press only for the necessary time. Keep the valve adjusted.
Do not throw garbage into the toilet. Avoid blockage.
When purchasing, prefer a toilet flush tank instead of a flush valve. Prefer lower consumption models.
In public restrooms, also be concerned about wasting water. Several commercial facilities already use faucets with sensors that automatically turn off in order to avoid wasting this important natural resource.

In the laundry room :
Allow clothes to pile up and wash all at a time.
If hand washing, turn off the faucet, soak the clothes with soap and turn on the water just to rinse.
Turn off the faucet while soaping and scrubbing your clothes.
Do not use excess soap for a faster rinse.
Only use the washing machine when fully loaded with clothes.
Reuse the washing machine water to wash the floor.
Use faucet aerators for water reduction and efficiency.
Do not use cleaning products in excess, especially sanitary water that contains chlorine. Use moderately, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

In the kitchen :
Before washing dishes, remove food particles and soak for a while.
Turn off the faucet while soaping the dishes.
If using a dish washer, wait until it has a full load.
Before washing vegetables leave them in water with a little vinegar for some minutes.
Use biodegradable soaps or detergents for faster decomposition in rivers therefore avoiding pollution.
When purchasing your washing machine or dish washer, pay attention to their informed water consumption.

Do not discharge frying oil or food particles in sinks or toilets as they cause blockages and make sewage treatment more difficult. Sabesp (Sao Paulo Sanitation Company) recommends putting the oil in a well-closed recipient (bottle) and disposing it of as common organic garbage. Other specialists state that the oil should ideally be taken to a nearby recycling center.
Find recipes to make soap from cooking oil at the website According to Ação Triângulo NGO, which collects vegetal oil at households and companies, a liter of oil contaminates 1 million liters of water – that is enough water for a person for 14 years. It happens because the oil prevents the exchange of oxygen, killing plants, fish and microorganisms. Oil also affects the soil permeability causing floods.   
Did you know that many hand soaps and washing soaps (in bars) are made of cattle fat?

In the garden, yard, sidewalk :
When washing the car, use a bucket and a piece of cloth instead of water from a hose. Wash your car less frequently especially in times of dry weather.
Do not water your plants with too much water or with a hose. Use a bucket or a watering can. Do not water at the day’s warmest hours or if it is too windy in order to avoid excessive water loss due to evaporation. Always try to water the base of the plants not the leaves.
Do not wash the sidewalk with a hose; sweep it with a broom instead. If necessary, use a bucket for the final cleaning.
Try to use water from rainfall. Collect rainwater from gutters.  Use it to water plants or clean the house.
Do not pave your entire backyard; allow some area for rainfall to permeate the soil.
Keep your water tank clean. It should be cleaned at least once every 6 months.

Verify leakages :
A dripping faucet wastes a lot of water. Replace the washer whenever needed.
Verify the toilet by throwing ashes into it. If they keep moving is because the flush valve or tank is leaking.
In order to detect leaks in your home piping, keep all valves open, all faucets closed and do not use any fixtures or appliances for about an hour; then verify whether there is any alteration in the water meter reading.
Look for humidity stains on the walls.
Promptly repair any leaks, as soon as they are discovered.

What is the wasted amount :
To brush the teeth with a running faucet = 80 liters
To wash the dishes with a running faucet = 100 liters
To wash the car with a hose during half an hour = 560 liters
To wash the sidewalk with a hose = 280 liters
To take long baths = 95 to 180 liters

Always turn faucets off tightly so that they do not drip.

Other tips to preserve water :
Do not litter lakes, creeks, rivers and the sea.
New apartment buildings with individual water meters per apartment encourage saving water and provide a fair billing as each family pays solely for the water they use.
Adopt the idea of water reuse whenever possible.

Organize a group to plant trees along a creek bank or to clean, recover and preserve a piece of degraded land. Collecting plastics at the beach helps save the lives of marine animals.

As a citizen and consumer :
You should warn public utilities of any water leakage you might detect and require from the government strong regulatory agencies to supervise the efficiency of the utilities.
To demand from the city hall and governors :
- Public policies that would prevent the unauthorized occupation of spring areas. To fight the destruction of riparian forests which protect water courses, and to require the recovery of deforested areas.
- Investments in treated water distribution and sewage treatment. In addition to saving lives, such actions will reduce the country’s expenditure in the area of public health.
- Works to drill wells in the Brazilian Northeastern.
- Adoption of an adequate residue management : selective collection and recycling, sanitary landfills, centers for collection of toxic residues such as remains of paint and solvents.

Consumers can organize themselves and demand that industries be more responsible in the management of their toxic residues. Demand it from environmental control organisms.
To require from companies producing detergents, cleaning products and packaging that they reduce their environmental impacts.
In the industry, to introduce mechanisms for water reuse, effluent treatment and reduce waste in industrial processes.
In the agriculture, to collect more rainwater and reduce waste with irrigation.
To use water saving irrigation methods and equipment. To reduce the usage of fertilizers and pesticides. To control soil erosion. Either in the city or in the country side, to avoid obstructing rivers. To use adequate procedures to dispose of pesticide packages (refer to ).

Prefer organic products to encourage the production of pesticide-free products therefore avoiding polluting hydro-resources and harming your health.

Keep in mind that you should turn off the faucet quickly. On-line Environmental Education for All