Water Conservation Tips. Think Water!
We recommend the following water conservation tips for both residents of, and visitors to the island.
By consciously thinking about your water consumption, and trying to be more water efficient, you could save up to 50 litres of water every day.
Here are a few examples and tips of how to save water every day to get you on your way.
In your House/Apartment
Check for leaks. Read your water meter – wait for 2 hours without using any water – then check the meter again. If it changes, you have a leak. Don’t waste your water and money – get it fixed.
- Install water-saving shower heads
- Taking shorter showers with decreased flow
- When showering, turn the water off to lather and wash, turning it back on to rinse
- Set an alarm on your phone to limit your shower to 5 minutes
- Wear a shower cap and reduce hair washing (experts say once a week)
- While you wait for hot water, collect the running water in a bucket and use it to water plants or soak laundry
- Turn the tap off while shaving/teeth-brushing
- Change the washer if the tap is dripping
- To detect a leaky toilet, put food dye in the cistern. If coloured water starts to come through without flushing, then you have a leaky loo.
- Trick your loo: the toilet cistern works by a floating device that registers when the cistern is full. Take up some volume. Fill a couple of plastic water bottles with sand/rocks and water to weigh them down. Put these in the cistern (away from the mechanism).
- USE THE HALF FLUSH. Many of the toilets here on the island have dual flushes – Get yourself into the habit.
- Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time
- Washing dishes and cleaning vegetables in a full sink rather than under flowing water (using a bucket means you can water plants afterwards)
- Running the dishwasher on full loads
- Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.
- When shopping for a new dishwasher, make sure to enquire about the water efficiency, or use websites such as the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
- Reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it’s one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.
- Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
- When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
- Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their colour.
- Use water efficient irrigation systems for gardens
- Check watering lines for leaks
- Water plants early morning/ late evening – It reduces evaporation
- Deep-soaking plants when watering. Do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems.
- Only water when your plants need it – remember plants may need less watering in winter – change your watering systems.
- Where possible, use a watering can instead of a hosepipe for watering.
- Plant indigenous plants or those that don’t require much water. Heidi Gildemeister´s beautiful guide on mediterranean gardening might prove useful when planning what to plant.
- Harvest rainwater and recycle wastewater.
- Don’t overfill the pool.
- Lower water levels will reduce water loss due to splashing
- Cover pool when not around – (on average 55 litres evaporate per day in warm weather)
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles water – they use less water than washing your car yourself.
And spread the word! Tell others about the need for water conservation on the island.
Ibiza’s water situation
Escalating water demand from tourism has led to depleted and polluted aquifers and an increasing dependency on desalination plants, which contaminate coastal waters with their by-product, and have caused energy consumption to soar. Urbanization has reduced rainwater recharge of aquifers and the abandonment of agriculture and loss of traditional land uses that has accompanied the rise in tourism, has meant a loss of water harvesting and the local culture of “water saving”. In the past, almost all houses in Ibiza had an excellent rainwater harvesting system in place. As these buildings have been developed and changed for tourism, these systems have often been transformed and lost.
Underground aquifers in certain areas of Ibiza reveal high concentrations of chloride ions, indicating contamination with seawater (see map above). This process of salination occurs when the aquifers are overused and the groundwater levels drop, causing coastal water to intrude.
Most visitors or foreign residents are unaware of the water shortage on the islands. The only official river in Ibiza, el Rio de Santa Eulalia, stopped flowing many years ago and the water table is precariously low. Water comes from either groundwater (of which only 15% is recharged by the rain), or from desalination plants. The desalination plants (Eivissa, San Antonio and Formentera, Santa Eulalia not yet in operation) deliver almost half of the urban water consumption.