Washing dishes is in Costa Rica. Photo La Nacion / FABIÁN HERNÁNDEZ
Washing dishes is in Costa Rica. Photo La Nacion / FABIÁN HERNÁNDEZ

QCOSTARICA – An analysis by the Costa Rica water utility, Instituto de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA), a typical family of five can use up two barrels of water (405 litres) a day washing dishes. This is due to leaving the faucet open while soaping dishes.

Although that number sounds outrageous, it does occur in one too many households, says the AyA.

According to the study, a family of five will use on average around 24,000 litres of water monthly. That equals to 1,200 20 litre Jerry cans (Bidones in Spanish).

On average, 24% of monthly consumption is in the kitchen; 29% doing the laundry; 28% flushing toilets; and 19% taking showers.

Due to the severe drop in supply, the AyA is making a passionate appeal to everyone to conserve water.

This means most of us have to change the way we go about using water every day.

For example, a typical washing of dishes in Costa Rica is running the faucet while soaping. A simple turn of the faucet while soaping can reduce water consumption. Or maybe filling the sink to soak and soap the dishes, then only run the faucet rinse?

Another water saver is to do laundry in larger loads. A series of small loads will use up much more water than a couple large loads.

Flushing the toilet every nth time, instead of every time.

Showers, in the words of the late Hugo Chavez, at a time when Venezuela was having its own water problems, shouldn’t take more than three minutes. “Some people sing in the shower, in the shower half an hour. No kids, three minutes is more than enough. I’ve counted, three minutes, and I don’t stink,” he said during a televised cabinet meeting back in 2009.

Not breaking into song distract you, turning off the faucet while soaping (lathering) up or shampooing you hair can be a great water saver. Baths are mostly out of the question since most homes in Costa Rica do not have a bath tub.

Another source of waste of water is leaks. A dripping faucet can use up litres of water in a short time. Hidden leaks in walls or the line between the water meter (street) and the house can waste water needlessly.

Reviewing your monthly water bill will confirm a leak, as each water bill will show water consumption for the last several months. The AyA, if requested, will provide you with a history of water consumption. Just visit any AyA office for this. It is free. Also free, the AyA will come out and do leak inspection of your home, inside and out. They cannot fix a leak on your side of the water meter, but can pinpoint the problem.

Water waste “starts with a few droplets from a faucet, then two more, and so on. A few droplets can represent about 60 litres of waste in one single day; equal to one shower or one flush the toilet,” Rolando Araya, manager for Technological Development at the AyA, told La Nacion.

Source: La Nacion – Ticos usan 2 barriles de agua para lavar platos

Do your part, turn off a faucet today, one flush less and not more than 3 minutes in the shower!

Use the comment section below to tell us what you are doing to save on water.

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