How To Save Water

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There are many ways to save water at home and in the garden.  Even small actions can make a big difference.  Find out what you can do to help our community build water resilience. 

You can also do your own water audit at home.  This helps to detect leaks, and find out where you use the most water. Check out our easy guide:  Do your own Water Audit at home(PDF, 118KB)  

Kitchens

KITCHENS

Kitchen sink

 
 The kitchen is a great place to save water in the home

Around 10% of your household water use occurs in the kitchen. Here are some easy ways to save water:

  • Install an aerator on your taps. They are inexpensive, cut down your water use instantly, and are great way to save water without even thinking about it.   
  • Scrape your plate before rinsing, and compost your scraps rather than using a garbage disposal unit. 
  • When rinsing your vegetables, collect the rinse water in a container and use it on your potted plants.
  • If you are hand washing, fill the sink rather than using running water.

 

Dishwasher tips!

Dishwasher

The dishwasher is the biggest water user in the kitchen.
  • Check the WELS rating on your dishwasher.  WELS stands for National Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme.  The more stars you have, the more water efficient your dishwasher is.
  • If fitting out a new kitchen, make sure to buy water efficient devices with a high WELS rating. This will save you water and money.
  • Only use the dishwasher when you have a full load.
  • If it takes you a while to fill the dishwasher, some have a 'rinse and hold' button.  These can be used to lightly spritz your dishes with a small amount of water, to stop food drying out and caking on. 

 

Hot Water Hacks

  • If you are waiting for the hot water, collect it in a container and use if on your plants, or for washing fruits and vegetables.
  • Insulate your hot water pipes to cut down on the time it takes for water to heat up.
  • Make sure your hot water system thermostat is not set too high. New hot water systems allow you to specify the temperature without adding cold water.  
  • Install a plumbing device that allows the cold water to be recirculated until it warms up.

Laundry

LAUNDRY

Washing machines use a large portion of your household water - up to 20%.  Make your laundry water-friendly with these easy tips below.

Washing Machine 1

Washing machine tips

  • To save water and energy, always run your washing machine on a full load.  Washing with a full load can save you 10 litres per wash.
  • Look for washing machines with a good WELS rating - four or more stars is best.
  • Adjust the water level to suit the size of the wash load - some new water efficient models will do this automatically.
  • Use the sud-saver option if your machine has one.
  • Pre-treat stains before loading into your machine. There are some great eco friendly 'stain-sticks' available these days which cut down on packaging and harsh chemicals too.

 

WELS Ratings

 By law, all washing machines must carry a label which gives a star rating for the machine's water efficiency. The more stars, the less water the machine uses per wash. The label also provides water consumption in litres for each cold and warm wash. The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme has a rinse performance test built into the rating, so you know your clothes will come out clean. If you want to buy a top loader in preference to a front loader and want to save water, look for a model with at least 4 water efficiency stars and an adjustable water level. This will enable you to reduce the water used with smaller loads.

Washing Machine 2

Front Loader vs Top Loaders - how do they stack up?

  • Front loaders typically rank better than top loaders in terms of performance.
  • Front loaders use much less water.
  • Front loaders can be difficult to access on the ground, but are easy to use when raised on a purpose built cabinet.
  • Front loaders use less energy, and need less detergent.
  • Front loaders generally take longer to complete a wash cycle. 

    

Toilets

Ensure your toilet is water efficient

Frog on Toilet

 

Buy a top rated dual flush toilet. Look for models with a four-star water efficiency rating. These can save the average home up to 35,000 litres per year. These toilets use just 4.5 litres for a full flush and 3 litres for a half flush.

Older toilets use around 18 litres per flush. If you can’t afford a new toilet, put a water filled plastic bottle or a brick in your cistern to reduce the volume used with each flush. 

If you are building a new home or doing a bathroom renovation consider installing plumbing to flush your toilets using rainwater or greywater.

Don’t use your toilet as a bin. Feminine hygiene products, food waste, baby wipes and goldfish should go in the bin! Flushing these down the toilet not only wastes valuable water but places additional strain on your local Sewage Treatment Plant.

Is your toilet leaking?

A continuously running toilet can waste up to 60,000 - 96,000 litres of water per year, yet toilet leaks often go unnoticed as the water trickles down the back of the bowl.

Follow these simple steps to check if your toilet has a leak:

  1. Remove the lid of your toilet cistern.
  2. Place a few drops of food dye into the cistern.
  3. Do not flush your toilet for 10-15 minutes.
  4. If the dye has seeped down into the bowl when you return, then you know you have a leak.

If you don't have food dye at home, you can also listen out for the sound of running water, or watch for drips or water flowing into your toilet. If you can hear or see water movement, your cistern may have a leak.  Toilet leaks are often a result of the rubber valve in the cistern deteriorating. You can contact a licensed plumber to fix this for you. It is important to check your toilet for leaks every few months so you can be sure it is not wasting any water.

 

Bathrooms

BATHROOMS

Almost half of your household water use occurs in the bathroom. 

Frog in bath

Baths

Many people believe that baths waste a lot of water. However, often a bath may use less water than showering. Follow these tips to ensure that you are using the bath water wisely.

  • Only fill the tub with as much water as needed. Use less for children and pets.
  • Check the temperature as you fill so you don't need to add extra water later.
  • Check your plug for leaks and replace if necessary.
  • Bucket your used bath water onto the garden or use it to wash your car.
  • Check that soaps and detergents in the water won’t harm garden plants.

 

Showers

Modern water efficient showerheads use no more than 9 litres of water per minute, while old style showerheads use up to 20 litres per minute.  Cut down your water use with these shower tips:

  • Install a water-efficient showerhead.  There are well-designed products available that don't compromise on the quality of the shower.
  • Take shorter showers. Shorter showers save on energy costs associated with heating water.
  • Use a shower timer. Choose from a manual 4-minute egg timer or a waterproof electronic timer.
  • Use a bucket to collect water while waiting for the shower to get hot and use it on the garden or your potted plants. 
  • Insulate hot water pipes. This avoids wasting water and energy while waiting for hot water to flow through.
  • Make sure your hot water system thermostat is not set too high. This reduces the amount of cold water needed to achieve the right temperature.

 

Gardens

Create a Water Resilient Garden

Implementing simple measures such as mulching and composting ensures your garden is water efficient and more prepared for times of drought.

Mulch

MULCH

Mulch is an essential component of maintaining a water efficient garden. It can reduce evaporation from soil by up to 70%. Mulch is like a blanket on the soil. Not only do mulches conserve water and reduce the need for irrigation, they also moderate soil temperature, inhibit weed growth and, over time, improve the soil structure and health of plants.

Compost

compost

Compost increases the organic content of the soil which helps to hold water. It also provides food for bacteria and worms, keeping your soil alive and full of nutrients.  Compost is a win-win, which will help you save water and improve the health and structure of your soil. 

Plant Native

Planting species that are suited to our local area can help to create more water resilient gardens.   Talk to your local Landcare group about the best plants for your property.  For more information about our local Landcare groups, click here

 Water for Wildlife 

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When conditions are dry, don't forget about our native animals. During extreme weather, they may rely on opportunistic water sources in order to survive.  Be neighbourly and leave small amounts of regular, clean water.  

Watering lawns

The accepted wisdom is you should not water too often. Giving the lawn a proper drink, less often, encourages deeper root growth and means your grass will be more able to withstand heat stress and dry periods. 

Did you know that your lawn mowing practices affect how much water your lawn needs? The golden rule is never cut your lawn by more than a third of the grass length. Some people like to leave the clippings on the lawn to form a mini-mulch and retain moisture longer.

 

Swimming Pools

SWIMMING POOLS 

Swimming pools use a huge amount of water, but if they are designed well to use rainwater and protected with a pool cover they don't have to be wasteful.

There are a number of effective ways to reduce water wastage in the pool and spa.

  • Reduce evaporation
  • Capture rainfall to refill your pool
  • Reduce backwash on your filter

Reducing evaporation

Pool Cover

Evaporation is a major cause of water loss from your swimming pool. It is important to remember that the evaporation rate is highest in the early evening as the air cools and the water remains warm.

  • Pool covers
    A pool cover is the most effective way to reduce evaporation. A good pool cover, if properly used, will reduce water evaporation from your pool and also reduce your pool chemical and salt bill. Pool covers range from simple leaf covers (which reduce evaporation by around 40%) though to thicker blankets and security covers (which can save up to 90% evaporation).
  • Pool blankets
    These offer a more affordable option and are available in bubble plastic or foam, which float on the water's surface. If used with a roller they can be easily removed before pool use, then spread again after you have finished swimming for the day.
  • Liquid pool covers
    These are a new alternative available if you don't want to hide your pool water with a cover or blanket. The chemical forms a barrier on the water's surface which inhibits evaporation by up to 40%. It can either be added to the pool daily by hand or by using an automatic metering system.
  • Increase shade
    Covering your pool with a shade will further reduce evaporation as well as protecting swimmers from harsh sunrays. Use shade cloth or a shade sail.
  • Prevent wind exposure
    Wind contributes to evaporation. To reduce water loss, adjust the landscape around your pool with walls and hedges that create shelter from the wind.

 

Capture rainfall to refill your pool

Installing a rainwater tank is a great way to reduce the use of mains water in your swimming pool. Rainwater diverters are an inexpensive alternative to installing a tank. They attach to a downpipe and can be used to divert rainwater into your swimming pool. In large downpours, you will need to monitor the water level in your pool so that it does not overflow. You should consult a plumber about stormwater diversion.

Reduce backwash on your filter

Sand filters require backwashing which can use up to 8000L of water every year. Purchase a cartridge filter if you are installing a new pool or replacing the filter. Cartridge filters do not require backwashing to be cleaned so they use less water. Backwashing a sand filter should be carried out once every 4–6 weeks. Only backwash until the glass goes clear - backwashing for longer will waste excessive amounts of water.

Some quick tips:

  • Backwash only when necessary.
  • Keep the pool and filters clean to reduce frequency of filter backwashing.
  • If acid has been used to clean the pool, the water should be neutralised.