Use water efficiently

Benefits

  • Help save precious water
  • Help reduce our reliance on treated and pumped water

At a glance

Ease Impact Savings

Australia is a dry country and can only provide a limited amount of fresh water. As pressure on our precious water resources increases, it's important to use water wisely wherever we can.

Even if you've installed water-efficient appliances in your home, use recycled water or have rainwater tanks, there are still many actions you can take to avoid wasting water, both in the house and in the garden.

In the kitchen

  • Avoid rinsing dishes prior to washing. Scrape food remains off dishes and dispose of scraps in the compost or garbage bin.
  • Always use a plug in the sink rather than letting the tap run continuously.
  • Purchase a water-efficient dishwasher.
  • Always try to fully load the dishwasher before using it and use the economy cycle if you have one.

In the laundry

  • Wait until you have a full load of washing before putting it in your machine.
  • Use the shortest cycle possible.
  • Use the suds saver function if you have one.
  • Adjust the water level to suit the size of the load.
  • Buy a water-efficient washing machine.
  • Consider using recycled water from your laundry for flushing toilets or watering the garden.

In the bathroom

Take shorter showers or possibly fewer showers. Place a timer in the shower so that you're more aware of how long you have the water running. This can also reduce your energy costs as not as much water will need to be heated. Explain to children the importance of saving water and encourage them to take shorter showers as well.

If you have a single-flush toilet, insert a water displacement device into your tank. You can purchase one of these or you can place a plastic bottle filled with water in the cistern. Don't use bricks as they can crumble and stop the system working properly. Otherwise you can have a plumber adjust the flush volume of your cistern.

Even better, replace single-flush or older dual-flush toilets with a more water-efficient dual-flush model. This can be done by either replacing the flush mechanism, the cistern or the whole toilet.

If you have a dual-flush toilet, use the half-flush where appropriate.

Fix leaking toilets immediately. A slow, barely visible leak can waste more than 4,000 litres per year. Visible, constant leaks can waste more than 96,000 litres.

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, there's a leak and the system should be repaired.

Outside

Australians use up to 60 per cent of their water outdoors, so water savings here can make a big difference.

Be aware of your local water restrictions and follow them. Creating a water-smart garden and improving watering practices can have an enormous impact on the amount of water you use outside.

You can re-use water or catch it in a rainwater tank for personal use. You may be eligible for rebates and assistance to help with the cost of installing them.

You can also:

  • Wash your car or boat at a car wash that recycles water and detergents. If you wash your car (or dog) at home, do it on the lawn—choose a different place each time because lawns have a limited ability to take up nutrients from detergents.
  • Aerate your lawn if it becomes water-logged or deteriorates. Avoid parking your car on lawns as this compacts the soil and affects its ability to absorb water.
  • Use a swimming pool cover to reduce evaporation—this can save between 11,000 and 30,000 litres of water a year.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean paths and the outside of buildings.

Watering systems

Automatic watering or irrigation systems can be an effective way of watering your garden, but they need to work properly to be efficient. They should only be used when needed.

Adjust your system to adapt to seasons and rainfall. Automatic systems set to turn on regardless of weather conditions will waste water.

Install soil moisture sensors—these trigger cut-off switches when it rains.

Drip irrigation is the most efficient system as it delivers water to the roots of plants and reduces evaporation and wind drift. Water restrictions may prohibit spray irrigation systems as they are less effective.

Check for leaks and splits in hoses and pipes and repair them immediately.

Check the water pressure is not too high as this can cause sprinkler tops to blow off and waste water.

Smart Approved WaterMark

Choose products and services labelled with a Smart Approved WaterMark. This label—generally for outdoor goods and services—means that the items have been assessed by technical experts to make sure they achieve water savings.

Look for the Smart Approved WaterMark on items and services or check the database of approved products and services.

Did you know?

  • An average single-flush toilet costs around $760 over 10 years. In comparison a water-efficient dual-flush toilet costs around $250 over the same period.