Reducing water use

There are many simple ways you can save water in your home and garden.

Water tank

Your bathroom

  • Check for leaking taps. One leaking tap can waste up to 2,000 litres a month.
  • Install a water efficient showerhead or fit a flow-restricting valve. Showers can now use as little as 9 litres per minute instead of the old shower heads that used 22 litres per minute.
  • Turn taps off tightly and replace washers when they begin to leak.
  • Take shorter showers by using a timer.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and use a plug in the basin when shaving.
  • Turn your single-flush toilet into a dual-flush toilet or install a displacement device in the cistern (tank) of single-flush toilets.
  • Check your toilet for leaks by adding drops of food colouring to the cistern. Don’t flush for one hour and if the colouring shows up in the bowl it’s leaking.
  • Before you go to bed, check your water metre reading then make sure no one uses any water overnight. If the reading is higher in the morning, you have a leak.
  • Install water efficient taps or tap aerators to cut water usage.

Your kitchen

  • Choose a dishwasher with a 5-star rating for sparkling dishes and a lower water bill.
  • Dishwashers connected to cold water are usually more efficient than those connected to hot water systems.
  • Use a bowl of water to rinse vegetables and other food items instead of running the tap.

Your laundry

  • Choose washing machines with a water efficiency rating of 4-and-a-half stars or above, which can use up to two-thirds less water than inefficient models.
  • Look for a front-loading washing machine with at least 4-and-a-half stars when you buy a new washing machine.
  • Front-loading washing machines generally require less water than top-loading machines.
  • Adjust the load water level to match the amount you’re washing or only put on full loads.
  • Regularly clean the lint filter on your washing machine.

Your garden

  • Choose native plants, which require less water.
  • Group plants with similar watering needs together.
  • Adjust your watering patterns to weather conditions and plant needs.
  • Wash your car on the lawn and water the grass at the same time.
  • Use a bucket for washing and rinsing your car, rather than leaving the hose running which can waste 20 litres of water a minute.
  • Use a rake or broom to clean paths and driveways rather than a hose.
  • Install a greywater system - 555kb to reuse your laundry water in the garden. 
  • Install a water tank for your garden. Rainwater can be used to water your garden, wash clothes and flush toilets. It can also be used to supplement the mains water supply, as long as you have approval from Sydney Water.

Pools and Spas

  • The average backyard pool can lose up to 50,000 litres of water a year through evaporation. Installing a cover on pools and spas reduces this water loss.
  • Ask your local nursery for advice on plants to screen the pool or spa and further reduce water loss.
  • Install a shade cloth over the area to reduce evaporation.
  • Install a rainwater tank to top up your pool or spa.
  • Keep your pool or spa balanced and healthy throughout the year. This will eliminate the need to drain and refill because of contamination.
  • Consider replacing a sand filter with a cartridge filter, which requires less backwashing.
  • Wet edge or 'infinity' pools can be designed to collect water in a reservoir for irrigation use.
  • Install an automatic pool cleaner to further reduce the need to backwash.
  • Collect backwashed water to wash down driveways and vehicles or water garden beds. Install an ozone-based treatment system in your spa, which is oxygen-based rather than chemical-based.

Government rebates

You can claim rebates from the State and Federal Governments for using sustainability initiatives in your home. For more information, visit www.livinggreener.gov.au.


Useful links