With drought and bushfires raging right across Australia and no significant rainfall predicted over the coming summer – saving water is more important than ever before.
 With level 2 water restrictions due to start on 10 December in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra, we have listed 10 different ways you can help save water at home – every drop counts! 

1. Take shorter showers

Did you know that older style showerheads can use anywhere between 15–20 litres of water per minute? Try and reduce your time in the shower to four minutes. Why not enlist a trusty timer or listen to your favourite four-minute song to make sure you are showering in the nick of time.

2. Put a bucket in the shower

Do you turn on the shower taps and stand around aimlessly while you wait for the hot water to come through? Instead of letting all that water go down the drain, collect the water in a bucket and leave it in there for the duration of your shower – you will be surprised how quickly it can fill up. The collected water can then be used for your plants or grass, it’s a win-win!

3. Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth

It might not seem like much, but when you leave the tap running while brushing your teeth, you’re actually wasting up to 10 litres of water per minute!

4. Opt for the half-flush

Did you know that 9% of total household water goes down the loo? When you can, choose the half-flush as it only uses around 3 litres of water per flush, opposed to a full-flush which uses 5 to 6 litres.

5. Always fill up your dishwasher before using it

Make sure you only run your dishwasher when it’s full and use the ‘eco’ option so you’re conserving more water. While you might think that washing the dishes by hand is better for the environment, this isn’t the case – so put the sponge down and stack your dishwasher instead. For extra water-saving points, make sure you don’t rinse the dishes before you load them into the dishwasher – not only does this double your water usage but it isn’t necessary!

6. Don’t leave the water running when washing fruit or vegetables

When it comes to preparing your meals, put a plug in the sink or use a bowl when washing fruit or vegetables. Why you ask? Because running the tap can use up to 10 litres of water per minute which is an awful lot when you think about it.

7. Wash your clothes in cold water

Always do a full load of washing whenever possible as washing machines (depending on what year and model) can use anywhere from 60 to a whopping 130 litres of water. By washing your laundry items in cold water, not only will you be saving water and energy, but you’ll also be minimising fading and shrinkage.

8. Opt for local native plants in your garden

Established native plants are drought tolerant and require less watering than exotic species. Not only will you be cutting down on water, but you’ll also be benefitting the environment as they provide food and shelter for a variety of birds, insects and lizards.

9. Make sure your home is leak free

A dripping tap can waste up to 20,000 litres of water a year, so be sure to fix those pesky leaks you might have noticed in your bathroom or kitchen.

10. Make the change to water efficient devices

If you decide to replace taps or appliances (e.g. front loader washing machine or dual flush toilet), make sure you check the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) rating. This will tell you how many litres of water per minute it will use, with more stars being more water efficient.  

Start today

Regardless of where you live, you can actively help and reduce your water consumption at home by employing a couple or all of these ideas. To learn more about how you can save water, visit Love Water

Laura Signorelli

Laura Signorelli is the Digital Publications Producer at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Posted in: Oceangraphy