We live in the driest continent in the world, and regardless of our reservoir levels, it is important that we use our water resources wisely and adjust our water use when conditions change.
Making smart water choices all year round will save you money and protect our water supply. Here are some tips to help you save water in the home and garden.
Saving water around the house
In the bathroom
Bathrooms and toilets account for about 40%1
of your household water use. Simple changes to your bathroom fittings and in your everyday habits can result in substantial water savings.
Install a water efficient showerhead
By replacing your showerhead with a three star/AAA rated showerhead, you can save around 11 litres of water a minute.2
Take shorter showers
By reducing your shower time by one minute a day, you can save more than 7,300 litres of water a year3
Install tap aerators
Tap aerators can reduce the flow of water through a tap by up to 50%.1
Over a year, this could save a family more than $604.
Fix dripping taps
A tap dripping at a rate of one drop per second wastes approximately 20,0001
litres of water per year. So make sure you fix a dripping tap as soon as you notice it.
Only fill the bath with as much water as needed
Use less water for children and pets and check the temperature as you fill. Adding extra water to get the correct temperature after the bath is at the right level is wasteful.
Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
If you turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, you could save more than 50,000 litres of water for a family of four over a year1
Use a dual flush toilet
Using a dual flush four star rated toilet can save the average home up to 35,000 litres of water a year.1
Check for toilet leaks
You can check for leaks in your toilet by placing a few drops of food dye into the cistern. If, after 15 minutes, the food dye has seeped into the bowl then you may have a leak. We recommend you get in contact with a licensed plumber to fix this for you.
In the kitchen
The kitchen is a major consumer of water in the home, using around 10%1
of total household water consumption.
- Buy a five and a half star water efficient dishwasher. Using around 10.1 litres5 of water per load, you’ll use less water than if you wash your dishes by hand.
- Don't waste water by rinsing the plates first.
- Only turn on the dishwasher when it’s full.
- Use short wash cycles when you can.
Avoid using the garbage disposal
Garbage disposal units can use up to 6 litres1
of water per day and also extra rubbish into the sewerage system. Put suitable scraps into the bin, compost or a worm farm rather than in the garbage disposal.
Rinse food in a container
When rinsing fruit and vegetables, fill a container only with the water you need. The wastewater can then be used on the garden.
In the laundry
Catch running water while waiting for it to warm up.
You can use the wastewater to water plants, rinse dishes, or wash fruit and vegetables.
Buy a water efficient front load washing machine
Choose a 4 star or higher front-load washing machine. On average, a front-loading washing machine uses up to 50% less water, 35% less detergent and 30% less energy than top loaders6
Always wash with a full load of clothes
A full load could save up to 10 litres per wash1
Pre-treating stains before you wash will reduce the need to rewash.
Hand wash in a sink or bucket
When hand washing delicate fabrics, use only as much water as you need in the sink or bucket.
Pools and spas
Backyard swimming pools are synonymous with our South East Queensland lifestyle. However they also require large quantities of water. Here are some tips to help you reduce your water usage.
Use a pool cover
Evaporation is a major cause of water loss from pools and spas. This can be reduced by covering the pool's surface. Covering the pool lowers the pool's temperature, decreasing evaporation whilst preventing debris from falling on the pool surface.1
Chlorinate your freshwater pool
If you have a freshwater swimming pool, chlorinate your pool over winter. This will prevent it turning green and will reduce the need to refill your pool.
Refill your pool with rainwater
Rainwater tanks are easy to install in your backyard and come in a variety of sizes. Rather than using tap water to top up your pool, why not use rainwater and save?
Garage and driveway
Washing your driveway, car, boat or other vehicle can use a lot of water, but there are ways you can reduce your water usage for these activities.
Use a bucket
Use a bucket of soapy water to wash your car rather than using the hose.
Wash your car on the lawn
Wash your car on the grass, allowing runoff water to water your lawn.
Use grey water
Consider using treated grey water or rainwater to wash your car.
Waterless car washes
Treat your car to a waterless car wash or use a low water or recycled water car wash.
Use a broom, brush or rake
Sweep your driveways and footpaths instead of hosing them with water. If you need to wash the area, fill a bucket and only use what you need.
In the garden
Using water efficient gardening techniques can save you time and money and still achieve a flourishing garden.
Water your garden at dawn or dusk
Water your garden before 8am or after 6pm to prevent valuable water from evaporating.
Don't overwater your plants
Watering plants and shrubs too often will result in shallow roots causing them to be less drought resistant. Water your plants less frequently so they set down deeper roots and will eventually require less water.
Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil
Mulching reduces up to 70%7
of water evaporation from soil. It can also provide plants with important nutrients and control weed growth.
Install drip irrigation
Drip irrigation is an affordable and relatively easy device to install in your garden. The drip system is placed at the base of the plant system and water slowly drips throughout the day.
Install a rainwater tank
Installing a rainwater tank can be an effective way to save water by developing your own personal water supply. We recommend that you check with your local council to see if there are any construction restrictions or if you need building approval before installing a tank.
Depending on your council guidelines, greywater from your washing machine, laundry tub, shower, bath and bathroom sink may be used to water your lawn and plants. You should only use untreated greywater for limited uses as chemicals and other harmful substances may be present.
Choose native plants
Native plants often have low water and maintenance requirements. Remember How to prevent blockages. Visit the Australian Institute of Horticulture's Waterwise Plant Selector for help choosing the right plants for your garden.
- Based on changing a non-efficient showerhead which uses 20L/minute to an efficient showerhead which uses 9L per minute and an average shower time of four minutes.
- www.nrm.qld.gov.au/waterwise/home Based on a standard shower using 20L of water per minute.
- Based on the average person using 27.5L of water per day from taps.
- Abu-Awwad, A.M. (1998). Effect of mulch and irrigation water amounts on soil evaporation and transportation. J. Agron. Crop Sci.181:55-59.1.