Articles / Expert tips

Where can you save water?

6 April 2021

Where can you save water?

There are many simple, practical things you can do to save water.


Your home

Learn how to save water inside your home. Do you know how much water an efficient household should be using?

Look at our water efficiency targets(/SW/your-home/using-w ater-w isely/w ater-efficiency-targets/index.htm) to find out how much water you can aim to use.

Check for leaking pipes

Check for leaking pipes and repair them as soon as possible. In many homes you can see pipes:

  • near the hot water heater
  • near the washing machine
  • near the dishwasher
  • under flooring
  • above the ceiling

Fix leaking taps as soon as possible. It’s an easy way to use less water. One leaking tap can waste up to 2,000 litres a month.

Prevent leaks by not turning taps off too hard and replace washers as soon as taps begin to leak.

Use water efficient products

  • Install water efficient taps or make your current taps water efficient by installing aerators.
  • Look for a front-loading washing machine with at least 4-and-a-half stars Help Description when you buy a new washing machine.
  • Choose a dishwasher with a 5-star rating for sparkling dishes and a lower water bill.
  • Install a 4-star rated showerhead and you’ll save water and energy by using less hot water.

Choose water efficient behaviour

  • Keep a bottle of water in the fridge for drinking instead of running the tap until the water is cool.
  • Thaw food in the fridge or microwave instead of under running water.
  • Wait until you have a full load in your dishwasher or washing machine and use the economy mode. This can save you water and energy.
  • Wash fruit and vegies in a half-filled sink instead of running water.
  • Rinse your razor in the sink. Rinsing your razor under a running tap wastes lots of water.
  • Turn the tap off while you brush your teeth. Simply wet your toothbrush before you begin and use a glass of water to rinse your mouth.

Your garden

Learn how to save water outside.

Choose the right plants and soil

  • Use compost to improve your soil. Maybe make your own!
  • Water the base of your plants, not the leaves.
  • Place plants with similar watering needs together.
  • Mulch your gardens to reduce moisture loss and weeds.
  • Plant local native varieties and other water wise plants that attract wildlife and need less maintenance and watering.
  • Try not to cut lawns too short. Cut only the top third off the length, leaving it three centimetres or higher.
  • Water your garden in the early morning or evening to reduce water loss through evaporation.

Get to know your water meter

  • If the numbers on your meter are turning while there’s no water being used in your home, you could have a leak.

Maintain your pool

  • Keep your pool covered. Without a cover, more than half the water in your pool can evaporate over a year.
  • Keep the water level of your pool halfway up the skimmer. Overfilling stops the skimmer working efficiently and wastes water.

Maintain your property

  • Wash your car on the lawn and you’ll water and fertilise your lawn at the same time. Car shampoos use phosphates similar to many fertilisers.
  • Use a broom, rake, outdoor blower or vacuum. Don’t hose paths, patios or driveways.
  • Check your outdoor taps and pipes for leaks regularly. Just one dripping tap can waste up to 2,000 litres a month.

Your business

Learn how to save water at work.

Understand your water use

  • Read meters at least daily to make sure you don’t have undetected leaks. One business site cut its water use by over 80% by detecting and fixing a large underground leak.
  • Benchmark your water use(/SW/your-business/managing-your-w ater-use/benchmarks-for-w ateruse/ index.htm) so you can see how much water you’re using compared to others in your industry.
  • Common benchmarks include litres per square metre (for buildings) or per unit of production (for manufacturers).

Fix leaks

  • Check for leaks in taps, pipes and hoses. One leaking tap can waste more than 2,000 litres a month! To reduce leaks in taps, turn your taps off lightly and replace washers as soon as they begin to leak.
  • Check that urinals and toilets are not leaking or flushing when not in use.

Install water efficient devices

  • Install at least 3 star rated flow restrictors in taps and showers. They’re more efficient than ordinary taps and reduce splashing.
  • Replace single flush toilets with efficient dual flush models. They use half as much water as old models. If you can’t replace toilets immediately, reduce flush volumes.

Implement water efficient processes

  • Mop floors instead of hosing them. Microfibre mops use less water, create less waste and reduce slip hazards.
  • Use mops, brooms, or a bucket to wash and rinse. Don’t use hoses to clean hard surface areas.
  • Encourage staff to rinse their dishes in a plugged sink rather than under a running tap. It’s just as easy and effective.
  • Think about installing your own wastewater treatment system to recycle water and cut down on water bills.

Communicate with staff

  • Provide incentives for staff to save water by linking water conservation to staff performance reviews.
  • Ask your staff for water saving ideas – they know how they use water in your business. Follow up on ideas and report back on progress. Simple ideas from staff may save more water than you ever imagined.
  • Include water saving policies and procedures in staff training programs and talk about water conservation plans, opportunities and progress at staff meetings.
  • Communicate water saving ideas using bulletins, newsletters, emails or posters. Encourage people to send water saving ideas via email or suggestion boxes.
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