Save money by reducing your water consumption.
Reducing water consumption in the home is a simple and easy way to decrease water and energy bills and lessen your household’s impact on the environment. Every household can cut down water use at low cost, often with costs recouped through water and energy savings within one year.
Get started with these tips to save water at home
- Reduce indoor water use by installing water efficient showers, toilets, taps and appliances.
- Minimise outdoor water use by choosing plants that are appropriate for local growing conditions. You can achieve this by including low water use areas in the garden design through the use of indigenous plants or low water use species (see Outdoor water use).
- Wash cars and bikes on the lawn to water the lawn at the same time.
- Sweep paths and drives instead of hosing them down.
- Reuse water where possible to reduce the consumption of potable water for non-potable purposes (see Wastewater reuse; Rainwater).
Next up, showers; an easy way to save water
The shower is one of the easiest and most cost effective places to decrease water use.
An inefficient showerhead can use between 15L and 25L of water every minute while an efficient WELS 3 star rated one gives a high-quality shower using as little as 5L every minute. Look for the water flow rate on the label. Depending on the model you choose, it is possible to get additional features such as massage and self-cleaning. Water efficient showerheads can save a two-person household at least $160 annually on household energy and water bills. The reduction in hot water also means less energy is needed for water heating.
Fitting a water efficient showerhead takes about 5 minutes for a plumber or handy person.
Reduce the amount of water used by your toilet/s
There are many ways to reduce the amount of water used by your toilet:
- Use the half-flush button when appropriate.
- If you have a single flush toilet, engage a plumber to adjust the flush volume.
- Replacing a 12L single flush toilet household of four people could save more than 60,000L of water a year.
- Maintaining toilets can significantly reduce household water use.
- Fix leaking toilets immediately. A slow, barely visible leak can waste more than 4,000L a year. Visible, constant leaks can waste more than 96,000L.
- Check for leaks by placing a couple of drops of food colouring or dye into the cistern. If colour appears in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, then a leak exists and the system should be repaired.
Save water with your taps
A tap leaking at the rate of one drip a second wastes more than 12,000L of water a year.
There are several simple measures that can ensure your taps are not using more water than necessary, allowing you to save water and money:
- Fix water leaks immediately.
- Don’t over-tighten taps. It can wear the washer and cause leaks. I suggest regular tap maintenance to prevent leaks and damage.
- Install a flow regulator on existing kitchen and bathroom sink taps.
- Ensure that all new taps are water efficient. Check the WELS star rating. Choose 4 or 5 stars for bathroom basins and 3 or 4 stars for the kitchen sink.
- Install mixer taps in showers. They can reduce the potential for scalding and save large quantities of water wasted through running the shower while trying to get a comfortable water temperature.
- Washing machines
- The laundry is a great place to save water.
- Adjust the water level on the machine, if you can, so it is appropriate for the size of load. Try to wash only full loads of laundry and use the economy cycle if you have one.
- Use the suds saver function if your machine has one.
- Choose cold washes to save more energy, if the wash is satisfactory.
- Purchase a water efficient washer with a high WELS star rating. Most front loaders are efficient and some efficient top loaders are now on the market. A high star rated model saves 50L or more with every load — and uses less detergent (the big money saver).
- Both front loader and top loader washing machines can earn high star ratings.
Buy an efficient dishwasher
Dishwashers are also WELS star rated and the most efficient models use less than half the water of an older model. The highest star rated dishwashers can use less than 1L per place setting — that’s less water than many people use washing dishes by hand.
Where possible, try to load the dishwasher to maximum recommended limit before using it, and use the economy cycle if you have one.
The WELS product rating system
The national Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme gives consumers information about the water efficiency of products.
A WELS star rating label indicates water efficiency.
The WELS scheme requires certain products sold anywhere in Australia to be registered, rated and labelled for their water efficiency.
The water efficiency rating is displayed on WELS products on a blue star water rating label. Labels for different categories of products differ slightly but all show two key pieces of information:
- The WELS star rating — the stars indicate water efficiency: the more stars, the greater the water efficiency
- The water consumption or flow figures:
- The average water consumption peruse (dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, urinals) or
- The average water flow per minute (taps, showers, flow controllers).
For further information about the labelling scheme and to search for products, see the WELS website at www.waterrating.gov.au