Last Updated Jan 22, 2018 · Written by Philippa Land
Australians are among the highest consumers of water per capita in the world. Average daily water use ranges from 100 litres per person within certain coastal areas, to over 800 litres per person in some dry inland areas of Australia. The average daily water consumption is 340 litres per person and 900 litres per household. When factoring in industrial water usage per person per day, Australia ranks as the 9th country with the greatest water usage in the world.
1. Regularly check all the taps and pipes in your home and garden for leaks. Nearly 1 billion litres of treated water is lost every single day in Australia through leaks and cracked pipes. A single dripping tap can lose up to 20,000 litres a year. If your taps are leaking then you may simply need to replace the washer.
2. When replacing fixings, including taps in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, always check the WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) rating, as it will be able to tell you how many litres of water per minute it will use.
3. Monitor your water meter and set water usage goals for your family every week.
4. Monitor your water bill to help highlight any discrepancies, leaks or other issues.
5. Insulate your hot water pipes. This will save time waiting for water to heat up.
6. Install water-saving aerators on all the taps around your home.
7. When purchasing new appliances for your home, always consider water use. Choose appliances with a good WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) rating.
8. Choose succulents to decorate your home instead of thirstier houseplants or flowers. A single rose bought from a florist uses up around 10 litres of water to produce.
9. Reuse the water in your hot water bottle when refilling it or use it to water your plants.
10. Use a dry vacuum cleaner instead of a wet vacuum.
The kitchen is probably the place where you waste the most water. Not just because of washing the dishes and cooking meals but due to the water footprint of the foods we buy.
11. When washing the dishes by hand, don’t rinse with running water. Scrape off any leftovers first.
12. Use just one basin to wash the dishes in.
13. Always use a dishwasher over washing by hand when possible. New dishwashers use less water than hand washing. Dishwashers use around 50 litres of water per load.
14. Only run your dishwasher when it is full.
15. Change the setting on your dishwasher to suit the load. Opt for the eco setting on your dishwasher whenever possible.
16. Use one glass throughout the day to drink water from. Reusing your glass will reduce the amount of drinkware that needs to be washed.
17. Be mindful of your food choices. Much of the food we consume uses up vast resources of water in the farming and manufacturing process.
18. Go vegan. Pound for pound meat has a much higher water footprint than vegetables, grain or beans. According to the Vegan Calculator, going vegan for just 1 month will save over 125,000 litres of water.
19. Eat less meat. By eating less meat you can drastically reduce your water consumption.
20. Opt for organic food as it requires less rinsing and cleaning.
21. Soak your fruit and veg together instead of rinsing each piece under the tap before you consume.
22. Use the water you soak your fruit and vegetables in to water the houseplants.
23. If you use ice, when you’ve finished your glass and have ice cubes left, throw them in with a pot plant instead of placing them in the sink.
24. Don’t use running water to thaw food. For both saving water and food safety, always defrost in the refrigerator.
25. Keep some water in the fridge instead of running water from the tap each time. This ensures that each drop is used instead of having to run the tap for a while before the water cools enough to drink it.
26. Use the smallest pot for the food you’re cooking to prevent using more water than necessary when boiling or steaming. It will also help to save you time and electricity as the water will heat up faster.
27. Reuse the water from boiled or steamed foods to boil or steam other foods or reuse when making sauces and soups.
28. Don’t pour oil or harsh chemicals down the drain as they make it harder to purify water at water treatment facilities.
Saving water in the bathroom is probably the easiest and most convenient place to save water in the home. These tips will help you to save water when you shower, bathe, clean and use the toilet.
29. Bathroom water is perfect for reusing in the garden, so save everything you can.
30. Use eco-friendly and grey water safe soaps and cleaning products in the bathroom so that any leftover cleaning water can be used in the garden.
31. Connect your shower and bath to a rainwater tank to use the water in the garden.
32. Install an instant water heater so that you don’t have to let the water run until it’s hot. It will also save energy and is more convenient.
33. If you don’t have an instant heater, use a bucket to collect all the cold water that runs while you’re waiting for the water to run hot.
34. Keep a bucket in the shower with you to catch the spray. If you use grey water safe soaps you can then use this water on your houseplants, the garden or even your car.
35. Have shorter showers. Any time you shorten your shower by is a great improvement but the 3 minute shower should be your daily goal. You can buy 3 minute shower timers to let you know when it’s time to hop out. A 10 minute shower uses up approximately 200 litres of water.
36. Turn off the running water while you shampoo your hair or shave.
37. Replace your current showerhead with a water-efficient model to save water.
38. Whenever possible opt for a shower rather than a bath to save water.
39. Bath small children together to save time, effort and water.
40. Bath with your partner to save water.
41. Bathe with your baby to save water.
42. Place the plug in the bathtub before running the water. Adjust the temperature as the bath fills, instead of getting the temperature right before you put the plug in.
43. Fill the sink to rinse your razor in, instead of using running water.
44. If you want to have a shower or bath just to wash your hair, do it in the sink instead.
45. Wash your face in the basin, instead of using running water.
46. Turn the tap off while you wash your hands.
47. Rinse your toothbrush in a cup instead of under running water. Brushing your teeth with the tap running wastes approximately 5 litres of water.
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48. Check your toilet for leaks. Add a couple of drops of food dye in the tank. Wait a few hours and if you have any of the dye in your toilet bowl, you have a leak.
49. Only flush what you have to. Don’t use the toilet to get rid of rubbish like cigarette butts, not only will it clog up your toilet, but every flush uses up around 6 litres of water, or if you have a single flush cistern, then you use up around 12 litres of water per flush.
50. Always choose to half flush whenever possible. Dual flush toilets save up to 80 litres of water per day.
51. Next time you purchase a toilet, buy one with a dual-flush, with flush options for both solid and liquid waste.
52. If you have an older toilet without a dual flush, decrease the water in your cistern by adding in a water bottle. This will help to reduce the amount of water the toilet uses with each flush.
53. Get a plumber to redirect your washing machine overflow into the garden or your grey water tank.
54. Always do a full wash load whenever possible. Washing machines use around 150 litres of water per load.
55. If you can’t do a full load of laundry, then at least match the wash cycle to the size and content of the load.
56. Only wash dirty clothes, towels, and bedding. Try to get as much use out of them before putting in the wash.
57. Wash using cold water whenever possible to save water and energy. It will also help your dark clothes retain their colour for longer.
58. Opt for a front loader instead of a top loader and check the WELS rating next time you’re shopping for a washing machine.
We use nearly a third of our overall household water consumption in the garden. In drier, inland areas of Australia, this figure jumps to 50%.
59. Many states in Australia have restrictions on watering your garden. Only water on your allocated days and times. Check with your local council to see what water restrictions are in effect.
60. Plant natives in your garden as they are usually less thirsty than exotic species. The local wildlife will thank you for it too.
61. Plant fruit and vegetables in your garden to reduce your overall water footprint, based on the high water use in agricultural practices.
62. Place a saucer under your pot plants to prevent water from draining away.
63. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean outdoor areas.
64. Adjust your irrigation settings according to the weather forecast.
65. Ensure your irrigation is not being wasted on pavement or other surfaces.
66. Place rocks and mulch around the base of your plants to decrease evaporation.
67. Opt for rocks and pebbles over living ground cover as they don’t need watering and they’ll help to keep your other plants moist.
68. When planting, opt for denser soil that will retain more water.
69. Limit the time your kids play with water outside in the summer.
70. Water your plants using a watering can instead of the hose. This will ensure you can see how much water you’re actually using.
71. Install a rainwater tank with a level indicator so you can tell how much water is in your tank at a time.
72. Connect your entire gutter system to a rainwater tank and ensure the entire surface area of your roof has a gutter system to collect the most water possible. The larger the surface area, the more water you can collect.
73. Install a greywater diverter hose. It’s important to talk to your local council before setting up a grey water system, as there are compliance regulations for each state and territory.
74. Adjust your lawn mower to the highest setting as taller grass holds more moisture, meaning you’ll have to water the lawn less often.
75. Replace grass with faux lawn or paving to reduce the amount you need to water the garden.
76. Replace grass with other plants and ground cover.
77. Leave lawn clippings on your grass to help hold in moisture.
78. Let your lawn go dormant during the drier months. Dormant grass only needs to be watered once a month to stay alive.
79. Choose a lawn type suited to the area that will survive without regular watering.
80. If your kids want to cool off during the summer, let them run under the sprinkler where your lawn needs watering the most.
Did you know that a standard garden hose uses approximately 38 litres of water a minute?
81. Add a trigger to your hose to prevent wasting water.
82. Always check the weather forecast and plan when to water your garden.
83. Don’t water the garden if it’s likely to rain soon.
84. Don’t water the garden in the wind, as much of the spray will be carried off and won’t land on the desired dry patches.
85. Water your garden at night in the cool air to prevent extra evaporation.
86. Use dripper systems and soaker hoses to release water slowly and reduce run-off.
87. Water your plants with grey water.
88. Ensure all water features use recirculating pumps to reuse the water.
89. Put fountains and other water features on timers to turn them off at night and other times when not for show as they have a high evaporation rate.
90. Opt for trickling or cascading fountains as they evaporate less water than water features that spray into the air.
91. Plant water lilies in fountains as the leaves cover the pool and help to prevent evaporation.
92. Check your pool for leaks. If you’re not sure whether you have a leak or if it’s just evaporation, place an empty bucket on one of your pool steps (in the water but not totally submerged). Fill the bucket with water to match the water level of the water outside the bucket and mark it with a pen or tape. Wait 48 hours and if the levels are the same you don’t have a leak. If the water level has dropped on the outside of the bucket then you likely have a leak.
93. Always use a pool cover when the pool is not in use as this will help to minimise evaporation.
94. Ensure you don’t ever overfill the pool. Lower your water level to reduce the water lost by splashing.
95. Keep your pool full by maintaining chemical levels and regularly testing the water.
96. Save the water from a cleaned out fish tank to water your plants. They’ll love the nutrient-rich water.
97. Wash your dog with a bucket of warm water outside in the warmer months, rather than a running hose.
98. Spot clean your car rather than washing everything.
99. Wash your car using a bucket of water, not a running hose. Washing your car with the hose wastes approximately 200 litres of water.
100. Park your car over your lawn to wash it. You’ll water your grass at the same time.
101. Head to the car wash instead. Wash your car at a carwash that recycles the water, rather than washing at home with a hose.
102. Share this article with your family and friends to encourage them to help save water too.
103. Support projects and companies that use reclaimed wastewater and those that make an effort to reduce their water footprint.
If you want to save water at home then contacting a plumber can help make your home water efficient in 101 and more ways. We have some of the best plumbers in all major cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart, and Adelaide.