Why Save Water?
Few people realise that only 3% of water on earth is fresh water suitable for drinking. 2% of this is locked in polar ice caps, which means only 1% is available for everyday use.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth and we're also the greatest consumers of water per person in the world. Global weather patterns are changing and there's little doubt that in the future Australia is likely to get hotter and drier. In recent years, the long-lasting drought in many parts of Australia has resulted in widespread water restrictions.
By 2021 Australians could save more than $600 million on our water and energy bills just by using more water efficient appliances and products. The amount of water we can save by then is about 800,000 megalitres which is more than the whole of Sydney Harbour.
In The Hunter every home uses about 210,000 litres of water a year with every person using about 205 litres every day. A house fitted with water efficient appliances can reduce consumption by about 25% - saving lots of water and money.
Water Saving Appliances
By replacing older style shower heads, washing machines and toilets you can make significant savings:
- save up to two-thirds of the water you usually use when washing by replacing an old washing machine with a water efficient model
- save around three quarters of the water you would usually use in a full flush toilet by installing an efficient dual flush mechanism in your old style single flush toilet. This can save you up to 9 litres, which is equivalent to one bucket, every time you need a half flush.
- save around 18 litres of water a minute in the shower by replacing an old inefficient shower head with an low flow shower head. Also consider installing low flow taps or tap aerators* to reduce your tap water use from 18 litres per minute to 2 litres per minute.
Some Other Simple Ways to Save Water around the Home
Try these simple water saving tips in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry and yard:
- a dripping tap can waste 3 litres of water in an hour. That's 2000 litres per month. Remember to replace worn washers
- a running tap supplies 17 litres of water each minute. Try to turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. And by installing tap aerators you can reduce this by over 50%
- water efficient dishwashers only use 18 litres of water per load compared to older models that use around 40 litres. Consider switching to a new model. Check the WELS* label when purchasing a new model. And try to only operate your dishwasher when fully packed
- a sprinkler can use over 1000 litres of water an hour. Think about installing a tap timer and use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system
- if you water your garden in the middle of the day much of the water evaporates in the heat. Consider watering in the early morning or late evening, plant natives and spread mulch to reduce evaporation by up to 70%
- washing your car in the driveway wastes water and pollutes our waterways. Consider washing you car on the lawn using a bucket of soapy water and rinse with quick squirts of water with a trigger nozzle on your hose
- more than half the water in a swimming pool can evaporate in a year. Consider a pool cover to reduce water loss
- if you're purchasing white goods look for products that are water efficient. Products including : toilets; showerheads; dishwashers; taps and washing machines are currently rated for water efficiency with a WELS* rating label. The label shows zero to six stars. The more stars, the more water efficient.
We can all make a difference - big or small. Little changes in our usage and behaviour can have a significant impact on the environment.
* Please refer to the Together Today Glossary for more details