Tips for saving water
There are lots of simple things we can do around the home to save water and money, and help the environment.
You can find out how your home rates for water performance by using National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS ) online rating tool.
In the garden
Always use a broom or rake rather than a hose to clean paths, paved areas and decks.
Use a trigger hose or watering can rather than a hose to water plants.
See if plants need watering by testing the soil with your finger. If it's damp 2 cm down, you don't need to water.
Water early in the morning so gardens have the water they need during the warmest part of the day.
You can train your lawn to use less water by letting the soil dry out sometime in spring. This encourages roots to grow deeper and makes watering more effective.
As the seasons change, monitor and adjust the amount of water applied. If it has been really wet lately you probably don’t need to water at all.
Choose lawns and native Australian plants with a low water demand.
Keep planted areas dense and consolidated, and group plants according to their water requirements.
Use windbreaks, pergolas, screens, lattice, shade cloth and vines to shelter the house, outdoor living areas and plants.
Prepare the soil before planting with water crystals to ensure that plants can make the most of the water they need.
Collect rainwater using buckets or a rainwater
Consider establishing a greywater
system In the kitchen.
Look out for the Smart Approved Water Mark
label when you are shopping to make sure what you are buying will really save you water.
Sydney Water customers can water, including with sprinklers and irrigation systems before 10am and after 4pm to avoid the heat of the day. Visit sydneywater.com.au/water4life/waterwise/
for more water wise rules.
In the bathroom
Install a 3-star rated showerhead and save more than 50 litres of water every time you shower.
While waiting for a shower to run warm, collect the water
in a bucket to use on the garden or indoor plants.
A hot water circulator will recirculate water until it is warm enough for your shower, saving you around 17,000 litres of water each year. Turn the tap off when you clean your teeth - this can save around 17 litres of water a minute.
To rinse your razor, run a little water into a plugged sink.
The toilet uses 21% of water inside your home. A dual flush toilet uses more than 606% less water than a standard single flush toilet.
In the laundry
Wash only with a full load.
Clean the lint filter on your washing machine regularly. This will ensure more effective lint removal and extend the lifetime of your machine. When you buy a washing machine, find out where this filter is on your model.
In the kitchen
Wash your vegetables in a partially filled sink, rather than under running water.
In warmer weather, instead of running the tap until the water is cold, collect the water in a jug and chill it in the fridge.
Only run your dishwasher when it's full.
Cook vegetables in a steamer, microwave or pressure cooker, or in pots with lids. These methods use less water and energy, and help retain the nutrients.
Fit the size of the pot to the amount of food being cooked. Try not to use a large pan filled with water for a small amount of food.
While washing your car
Use a car wash that recycles water and uses high pressure cleaning units or a waterless car wash.
If washing your car by hand, use a bucket, as a running hose wastes up to 20 litres of water a minute. Make sure to wash the car on the lawn to help prevent water entering the stormwater system.
Use a trigger nozzle or a positive shut-off nozzle infrequently for occasional rinsing sprays.
Using the pool and spa
Use a pool cover or blanket to save money and water. It will keep your pool warmer, cleaner, and cut down the amount of water lost through evaporation. More than your entire pool’s volume of water can be lost each year through evaporation.
You can also cover your pool with a shade cloth or sail to reduce evaporation, reduce leaf litter in your pool and protect you from the sun.
To reduce evaporation from wind, try positioning the landscape around your pool to create shelter. You can do this using walls, hedges and other plants.
Regularly check that your pool filter is working properly.
Check your pool for leaks. Even a small leak can waste 7000 litres per year.
When building or renovating
If you’re planning to build or renovate, take the opportunity to build water efficient features into your home design right from the beginning. As well as conserving water, a water wise home design will also help reduce household energy bills.
In NSW, consult BASIX (the NSW Building Sustainability Index). This NSW Government initiative ensures new homes are designed and built to use less energy and water, and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. This scheme also includes recommendations for sustainable building additions and alterations.
Your Home is a collection of materials and tools developed by the Australian Government to encourage the design, construction or renovation of homes to be comfortable, healthy and more environmentally sustainable. The site also provides a comprehensive list of house building and design organisations, major material manufacturers and government agencies that are valuable sources of good home design information.
Contact a plumbing or irrigation professional to design a solution that utilises natural drainage and saving water on land. Green Plumbers or EnviroPlumber provide more information.
Page last updated: 11 September 2012