How Can I Save Water?




Definitions of Waterwise words and phrases.
Term Definition
Aerator, as in tap or faucet aerator

A metal or plastic attachment at the tip of a water tap that restricts the flow of water from the tap. This helps save water without reducing water pressure. They are also effective in homes with low water pressure as they can increase the perceived water pressure.


An awning is a material stretched over a frame attached to the external wall of a building that provides shade and protection from the elements.


Often related to pools, this is the process of reversing water through a filter in order to clean it. Backwashing removes clogged particles and allows the filter to work more efficiently and effectively.


A chamois (or ‘shammy’) is an extremely soft, flexible, thick and absorbent cloth (traditionally made of leather but more likely to be made of cotton or imitation leather). It is commonly used on cars, windows, and even eye glasses to avoid scratching. Chamois cloths are available in large supermarkets, hardware stores and petrol stations.


The tank above the toilet which holds the water for each flush.


Organic matter (“green waste” such as vegetable peels, grass cuttings, etc.) that has decomposed in either an aerobic or anaerobic environment and can be reused on gardens or lawns as a fertiliser or soil enhancer.


“Do-it-yourself.” This acronym refers to undertaking maintenance and home improvement projects without the help of experienced professionals. This can be for cost-saving purposes, necessity or as a recreational activity.


Water transferring from the surface (liquid) to the atmosphere (gas).


An organic or inorganic material added to soil to supply nutrients to plants.


A porous medium (such as sand, charcoal, etc.) which removes impurities or solid particles from the water which flows through it.

Fixture, as in water fixture

These include taps, shower heads and hose trigger nozzles.


Unable to absorb / retain water.


Grouping plants with similar water needs together, to make it easier to water efficiently.


Mulch is like a blanket on the soil that protects it from the hot sun, drying winds, and reduces evaporation. There are lighter mulches like sawdust, coconut or pine bark, as well as coarser mulches like pebbles, stone, gravel and even recycled concrete and bricks.


Pergolas are permanent or fixed shade structures in a garden.


The selective removal of parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. The parts removed are usually diseased, damaged or dead or they are removed to shape plants or prevent branches from falling dangerously. A variety of tools can be used; such as hand pruners, loppers, or chainsaws.

PSI (pounds per square inch)

This is a unit to indicate pressure. It is the pressure resulting from a force of one pound-force applied to an area of one square inch.


Or “surface runoff” – excess water flowing over hard surfaces like concrete or away from soil that has been saturated and can’t absorb any more water. Runoff occurs commonly when washing cars, patios and driveways, and when lawns or gardens receive too much water at a time. Runoff from irrigation can be minimised by adjusting sprinklers to give less water at a time, terracing slopes and replacing concrete with porous surfaces.

Soil wetting agent

Usually a crystal or gel that can be applied to plant beds and pots that help moisture absorb into the soil. The wetting agent will hold the water and the roots of the plants will grow around it allowing the plant to draw on the moisture as needed.

Trigger nozzle

An attachment to the tip of a water hose that can be turned on and off at the point of use, rather than by returning to the tap. The flow is usually adjustable which enhances water saving.


A device that controls the passage of fluid through or out of a pipe or duct.

Water efficient fixture or appliance

A fixture or appliance that uses less water than the average fixture or appliance. The types of appliances this refers to are clothes washers and dishwashing machines. The types of fittings this refers to are taps, shower heads, hose trigger nozzles, etc.

Water meter

An instrument which measures the volume of water passing through it. Residential water meters in Abu Dhabi generally use mechanical or ultrasonic technologies. The display may be a digital or analog counter.

Water table

A water table is the level of the water beneath the ground level. On Abu Dhabi Island and in the Emirate’s oases, water tables can be quite shallow (nearer to the surface) though often partially salty.

Waterless car-wash

This is an industry term which describes car-wash products that don’t require any additional water to use. Not intended to be misleading, a ‘waterless’ car wash product may in fact be water based, however the water component is millilitres compared to the hundreds of Litres typically used with traditional car-wash methods. It is important to note that there are a lot of different ‘waterless’ car-wash products available on the market which can include different ingredients, use different packaging, etc.

Eco tip intext 1  Eco-tip: Ensure that your ‘waterless’ car wash product is environmentally friendly, biodegradable and all natural.

Weed, specifically ‘To Weed’

The act of removing unwanted / nuisance plant species. This may be done by pulling out the weed and its roots (by hand or by using a tool such as a hoe), or by using a chemical to kill the weed.


Xeriscaping is a method of landscape design that focuses on the selection of plants that require little water, and also considers soil, mulch, layout, irrigation and other maintenance requirements.