10 simple water-saving tips

You’re not a ‘wally with water’ but you open those quarterly bills with trepidation. Are you doing everything possible to keep costs down? Or are you flushing your hard-earned cash down the drain? We reveal how you can cut your water bill.

1. Swap to a water-efficient shower head
Showers make up 22 per cent of total household water use, according to watercorporation.com.au. By swapping your old-style shower head – or possibly your new-one – to a water-efficient shower head, households can save up to 20,000 litres of water per year. We’ll let you do the sums on how much you could save.

When selecting a shower head, look for the stars on the label – the more stars, the more water you will save. Also, check the flow rate (litres per minute) as this can vary substantially.

And the additional good news is that due to newer technologies, you’re unlikely to notice a difference in the water pressure, and you’ll use less energy to heat the lower volume of water. It’s a win, win, win. And finally, try to keep those showers to four minutes. You can do a lot in four minutes.

2. Use low-flow tap aerators

An aerator is the component that screws on to the tip of a tap. Aerators save water – and money – by limiting the flow of water through the tap, without reducing water pressure.

Website reductionrevolution.com.au says regular taps use about nine litres per minute and recommend the following aerators for specific rooms:

four litres per minute for bathrooms
six to nine litres per minute for kitchens and laundries.

To install:
unscrew the existing aerator housing and remove your aerator (and washers)
assemble the new aerator by placing the insert and new washer (included) into the housing
clean the thread on the tap
screw on the new aerator and hand-tighten.

3. Stop pre-rinsing your dishes
Most modern dishwashers work well enough to make pre-rinsing an unnecessary step. Simply scrape leftovers into the rubbish or compost bucket and put your dishes directly into the dishwasher.

On the occasions you feel you do need to pre-rinse, pop them in the sink to limit water use. 

4. Don’t run partial dishwasher or laundry loads
You’ll save water and money if you wait until your dishwasher or washing machine has a full load before starting.

And remember to check which wash cycle is selected. Do you really need a high temperature or long wash cycle?

5. Upgrade to a dual-flush toilet
About nine per cent of total household water goes down the toilet. Depending on the number of people in the household, you could save up to 80 litres a day by converting to a dual-flush toilet, according to watercorporation.com.au.

When replacing your toilet, choose four-star models that use three litres for a half-flush and 4.5 litres for a full flush. Check whether you need to replace both the pan and the cistern.

And if your toilet is constantly running – even slightly – you could be paying for hundreds of litres of wasted water.

6. Ensure your home is leak free
If you have leaking taps, pop a bucket underneath to gauge how much water is being lost. That might encourage you to get a plumber to fix the taps, if you can’t. Then at least you can put that water on the garden. Estimates by watercorporation.com.au reveal that the equivalent of about 700 million buckets of water is lost through residential leaks in Perth alone.

And don’t forget to check that all outside taps are leak-free.

7. Consider installing a rainwater tank
A rainwater tank can be a great way to save and store rainwater to use on your garden.

A small tank (up to 2000 litres) can also be plumbed into your toilet and washing machine and save thousands of litres of water a year.

8. Don’t waste the cold water as you wait for the hot
Instead of watching the cold water go down the drain as you wait for it to heat up, grab a bucket or small container and collect it. Then use it to water your pot plants and garden. You could be catching as much as 10 litres for every minute you’re waiting for hot water.

9. Saving water outdoors
Fit a trigger nozzle to your garden hose and use a broom, rake or blower vac rather than a hose to clean your driveways and hard surfaces.

Plant for the climate and soil in your area and mulch, mulch, mulch.

10. Buy water-saving appliances
When you need to replace household appliances, do your research and opt for water-efficient models wherever possible. You’ll save money in the long run, even if they are slightly more expensive.

Do you have other water-saving tips to share? Are you careful with your water usage?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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