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Saving Water

Water Saving Tips

In the Kitchen

Many of us waste a lot of water running the tap when we don’t need to. In fact, in only a minute a running tap can waste 17 litres of water. So the very easiest way we can save water in the kitchen – is by using the plug! If you simply put the plug in the sink, you can save many, many litres a day.

Other easy ways to save water in the kitchen include:

  • Use a microwave, steam or pressure cook your vegetables – you will save water and be rewarded with great tasting food! You can also cut down on water loss by using tight lids on pots and simmering instead of boiling rapidly.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the fridge overnight or use the microwave instead of placing them under running water.
  • Keep a container of water in the fridge so that you won't need to run the water down the sink until it's cool enough to drink.
  • Install water efficient taps or tap aerators to cut your water usage without you even noticing the change.
  • Make sure you don’t have any leaking tap.
  • Using dishwashers – wait until you have a full load. This saves water and energy, and reduces the amount of detergent entering the sewerage system.
  • Rinsing your dishes in a plugged sink rather than under a running tap saves water and is just as easy and effective.
  • Washing fruit and vegies in a half-filled sink instead of under running water is a great way to cut back on water wastage.
  • Where convenient and appropriate, try to capture 'warm-up' water for use on plants, rinsing dishes, washing fruit and vegetables, or other cleaning tasks.

In the Bathroom

The bathroom is where we can all make a big water saving – nearly half the water we use in the house is used in the bathroom. Like the kitchen, we sometimes forget that running a tap in the bathroom wastes a lot of water, so:

  • Don’t run the tap while you’re brushing your teeth – wet the toothbrush, turn the tap off, and just use when you’re finished to rinse off
  • Don’t run the tap when you’re shaving – put some water in the sink and use it to wash your face and razor.

Some other easy tips for the bathroom are:

  • Don't let cold water run down the drain while you're waiting for your shower to heat up. Instead, capture the water in a bucket and use it to water your plants.
  • If you have an older toilet with a large capacity, try putting a bottle filled with water or a brick in the cistern to reduce the amount of water used with each flush.
  • If you're installing a new toilet, buy one with a water efficiency rating. These use just 3-6L of water with each flush.
  • Even if your toilet is only leaking slightly it can waste many thousands of litres of water every year. An old trick is to put food dye in the cistern and check the basin 30 minutes later. If the water is coloured, you need to check for worn or corroded parts.
  • Try to restrict your shower time - five minutes is plenty of time to get clean. Put a timer in the shower if it's hard to keep track.
  • Consider a water efficient showerhead - an eight minute shower using a regular showerhead uses around 120 litres of water. A water efficient showerhead uses less than 72 litres
  • Save baths for special occasions and don't use more water than you need.
  • Shaving your legs in the shower takes more time and hence uses more water. Fill a container with warm water and use it to shave your legs before you get into the shower - then you only need the running shower to rinse off.

In the Laundry

Of all water consumed in the home, about 15 - 20% is used in the laundry. And it’s in the laundry where we also use a lot of power and detergents, so it makes sense to cut down on waste in this room. Some ideas are:

  • Buy an energy-efficient washing machine.
  • Wait until you've got a full load before you use the washing machine. If you do a half load, adjust the water level accordingly.
  • Buy a tank and use rainwater in your washing machine.
  • Remember to regularly clean the lint filter on your washing machine.

In your garden

Many of us love gardening and relish watching our plants grow – and it is definitely possible to keep gardening while not wasting water.

  • Use mulch - mulch can reduce evaporation from soil by up to 70%. Mulch is like a blanket on the soil. It keeps the soil cool and it reduces evaporation because the soil is not exposed to dry air and drying winds.
  • Use compost - compost provides valuable nutrients and encourages drainage, while keeping the soil moist
  • Use trigger operated nozzles in hoses – you can then only use water when you need it
  • Check for leaks in the hoses and taps
  • Water new plants before removing from pots, then place in the prepared garden. Water well and allow to drain. Follow this by regular watering until plants are established. 
  • Consider installing a tank to use for watering your garden - rainwater is excellent for the garden and can save water bills.
  • Re-use household water - some water used in the home can be recycled for use on the garden, i.e. a bucket in the shower can save water used while the water is heating up, water used to clean vegetables can be used for the garden, your washing machine water can be diverted to the garden, etc.
  • Never water in the heat of the day, most water will evaporate. It is better to water in the evening or early morning so that the water soaks into the soil
  • Water plants at the base thoroughly and infrequently, so that water reaches the roots, rather than giving them a light sprinkling more often. Roots will then go down to search for water, making plants stronger.
  • Use a rose on your watering can. Water flooded on to the surface will dry to form a hard crust.
  • Water only the plants that need it! Some plants, even root vegetables, will survive on very little water. Some, such as potatoes and broad beans, need water when they are filling out and only some, such as lettuces, tomatoes and zucchinis need water throughout the season
  • Cut the base off a plastic bottle and bury it upside down next to the plants - poured in water will then get straight to where it matters - the roots.
  • Don’t water your lawn - grass can survive for long periods without water and will quickly recover from drought. Unless you totally drench the lawn, watering encourages the roots to come to the surface, thus rendering it less tolerant to dry conditions. 
  • Raise the blades on your mower so that the lawn is left longer and cut the grass less frequently. 
  • Maintain your garden and plants so that water is not wasted on dead, diseased or damaged plants. Dead-head flowering plants to encourage new growth and remove any rotten or dead wood. 
  • Pull weeds out when the shoots first appear, before they compete with your plants for precious water and always before they set seed.