With little rain and high demand for water, Ibiza and Formentera suffer from frequent droughts and underground aquifers are being depleted. When aquifers are overused and groundwater levels drop, salt water intrudes and contaminates the water. Desalination plants, although they ease pressure on aquifers, use large amounts of energy and create salt-water by-products that can pollute coastal waters.
By consciously thinking about your water consumption, and trying to be more water efficient, you can save up to 50 litres of water every day. By installing water-efficient appliances and water-saving systems, you can make your home more water-friendly.
What you can do
In the past, most houses in Ibiza and Formentera had rainwater harvesting systems. As houses have been developed and changed, these systems are often transformed or lost. When remodelling or building a home, ask your architect or plumber about installing tanks to collect rainwater. Systems can be used to water gardens, top-up swimming pools and flush the loo.
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 water and money – get it fixed.
- Install water-saving shower heads
- Take short showers with decreased flow
- Turn the water off to lather and wash, and turn it on to rinse
- Limit your shower to 5 minutes
- 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.
- Turn the tap off while shaving and brushing teeth
- Change the washer if the tap is dripping.
- Install and use a half flush
- Don’t drop rubbish down the loo – put it in the bin
- 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.
- Run the dishwasher on full loads. Energy Star dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand.
- Check the water efficiency when shopping for a new dishwasher. Websites such as the Consortium for Energy Efficiency compare water use between models.
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
- Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
- Wash dishes and clean vegetables in a full sink rather than under running water.
- Reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup.
- Put unwanted ice cubes in the garden or a house plant.
- Match the water level on your washing machine to the load size.
- Wash dark clothes in cold water – it saves water and energy and helps clothes retain their colour.
- Water plants early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation.
- Deep-soak 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 encourage shallow root systems.
- Only water when your plants need it – plants need less watering in winter.
- Use a watering can instead of a hose.
- Plant indigenous plants or those that don’t require much water.
- Harvest rainwater and recycle wastewater.
- Use water-efficient irrigation systems for gardens, and check watering lines for leaks.
- Don’t overfill – lower water levels to reduce water loss from splashing.
- Cover your pool – on average 55 litres evaporate a day in warm weather.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles water – they use less water than washing your car yourself.
Spread the word! Tell others about the need to save water on the islands.