Water Conservation

Big Savings around the Household


Change to water-efficient appliances and fittings

Look for high Water Conservation Rating labels when buying an appliance such as a washing machine or a dishwasher, or replacing fittings like a toilet, shower heads or taps.
The more "AAA's", the better.

An average house tap flows at 20-30 litres per minutre, depending how far it's turned on. Apply this flow rate* to all your water activities and you'll be surprised at how uch is used.

In the bathroom
Brushing teeth 5L
Washing hands 5L
Flushing toilet 12L
Shower 40-250L
Bath 50-150L
Continuously trickling toilet 6,000L/yr
In the laundry
Washing machine 40-265L
In the kitchen
Drinking, cooking, cleaning 8L/day
Dishwashing by hand 18L
Dishwasher 20-90L/load
Garbage disposal unit 30L/day
Sprinkler 1,000L/hour
Washing car with a running hose 100-300L
Hosing driveway About 200L
Dripping tap (slow) 30L/day
Hand-held hose 10-20L/min
Filling swimming pool Up to 55,000L
Evaporation loss from typical home pool Up to 200L/day
* Figures vary due to personal habits and design of household appliances.

Modify the way we use water

The average family uses 60% of its domestic water inside the house. Most households can:

  • Reduce total domestic water usage by 30% through fitting Water Conservation 'A' Rating products inside the home.
  • Make further big savings just through changes in the way we use water.
  • Save thousands of litres each year by changing a family's habits of water use. Make it a project for everyone!
dual flush

In the bathroom

Inside the house, the toilet accounts for 32% of water used - about 57,000 litres a year in the average home.

  • Install a dual flush cistern (9/4.5L) in place of your old one, or convert that with an adaptor.
  • Install a water-efficient shower head. A family of four can save around 100,000 litres in a year.
  • Add aerators to basin taps, or fit new taps with aerators built in.
    Many of our bathroom routines are old habits which we can modify:
  • Take shorter showers and save a heap on water heating costs! About five minutes works well.
  • A half-filled bath uses less water than a long shower - have a soak.
  • When brushing teeth, use a glass for rinsing - don't run the tap while cleaning. At about 5 litres a time per person, calculate the savings per person per year!
  • It's much the same for shaving. And heating water costs a lot. Rinse your razor quickly, then turn the tap off.

In the laundry

Front loading washing machines generally are more efficient, using:
60% less water
30% less electricity
50% less detergent
With any washing machine:

  • Have a full load of laundry before operating.
  • Limit detergent use and choose environmentally freindly, biodegradable, phosphorus-free detergents.
  • Use the suds-saver option when possible
    Due to possible health risks, recycling untreated washing machine water onto lawns and gardens cannot be endorsed. Research is being undertaken to resolve this issue.

In the kitchen

  • Use the dishwasher only with a full load. This also saves electricity.
  • Fit aerator taps to reduce water flow by 50%.
  • Avoid rinsing of dishes under a running tap. Use a plugged sink or place dishes on a rack and carefully pour water over them.
  • Clean vegetables without running the tap. Rinse in a plugged sink or pan.

TapCheck for leaks

Undetected leaks can waste thousands of litres of water each year.

  • Turn all taps off late one night or when going away for the day, and take a meter reading. Check the meter after some hours, before again using water. If the meter reading has advanced, you may have a leaking pipe, tap, water heater or toilet cistern. Locate the problem and repair it.
  • To chck for toilet cistern leaks, put a little food colouring in the cistern, If, without flushing, the colouring appears in the bowl, repair the flushing mechanism.
  • Regularly read the water meter and compare usage in a methodical way. (Tip: a good project for children.)
  • Observe taps, washers, pipes and cisterns for leaks and have any repaired immediately.
  • Turn taps off properly. Check washers for wear.

Hot water pipes and systems

  • Insulate hot water pipes. This reduces use of water and energy before hot water flows through.
  • Make sure the system thermostat is not set too high. Apart from the danger to children of scalding hot water, it wastes energy to cool it by adding cold water.
  • Check and ease the units pressure valve. If the overflow runs constantly, have the valve checked by a plumber.
  • If you have a spa, ensure it is well insulated to keep warm longer. Reheat recirculating water to reduce wastage.

broomThe yard

  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean paved areas. A hose can use over 1,000 litres of water per hour.
  • Control water games which use hoses and sprinklers.

Swimming pool

  • Evaporation from a typical home pool can loose up to 200 litres of water a day, so cover the pool.
  • Check the pool for leaks

carWashing car, boat, caravan

  • Use a bucket and sponge for washing. Use the hose for rinsing only - and turn it off between rinses! A running tap wastes 1,000 litres an hour.
  • Wash them on the lawn, so the water is used by the grass.

Acknowledgement: Text and images from the 'WMC Limited WaterWise program'.

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© 2012 Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden