In this article
- How can you monitor, reduce and reuse your water usage to maximise water efficiency at home and save on your water bill?
There is no doubt that many of us want to reduce water usage in our households. Considering that the average family household, two adults and two children, uses 1 000 litres of water per day - a staggering 360 000 litres per year - we should all be monitoring, reducing and reusing our water usage.
Fortunately, we can all make a difference by changing a few things we do around the house. Read on to learn how to save water at home to reduce the water used in your household and save on your water bill.
Monitor | maximising water efficiency
Monitor your water usage with these water-saving tips.
It is essential to understand where, when and how you use water. By monitoring your water usage, you will better assess which water-saving tips will make the most difference for your household.
Check your water meter
One of the easiest ways to determine how much water you use is by checking your water meter regularly – weekly or even daily as you learn your water usage patterns.
“In Tasmania, TasWater is the 12th largest user of power in the state. By installing water meters, we have helped reduce our carbon footprint,” TasWater, 2020.
In the morning, check the water meter number and note where and how you used water throughout the day. Check your water meter throughout the day and evening to see how many litres you have used.
Checking your water meter will show you the areas of high water usage in your home and the times when you use more water.
You can also use your water meter to see if you have any leaks in your household. To check for leaks, Unitywater suggests shutting off the water mains and locating your water meter, writing down the numbers you see on the reading, and returning in an hour or more to see if the numbers changed. If the reading has increased, you should investigate or call a professional to find out if you have any leaks.
Use automatic monitoring systems
Another option for monitoring your water usage is installing an automatic water monitoring system. Various monitoring systems are available, ranging from water tank monitoring systems, leak detection and shut-off valve devices for the home, and industrial monitoring systems.
Reduce | maximising water efficiency
Reduce your water usage with these water-saving tips.
Locate all leaks
Look for and locate any leaks on your property. Check that none of your water fittings or pipes are leaking to improve your water efficiency.
A dripping tap or a leaking toilet can seem insignificant, but a consistent leak can lose up to 90 000 litres of water each year. Not only is it a waste of water, but you can pay an extra $60 and $180 out of your pocket per leak.
Install low-flow taps and showerheads
Swapping your regular flow with low-flow taps, showerheads, and hose spray nozzles can significantly decrease water usage.
According to Choice, the leading consumer advocacy group in Australia, “if you know what to look for, you'll find that a well-designed low-flow showerhead can provide an experience comparable to, or even better than, a regular 9L/min showerhead. And going from a 9L to a 7.5L flow rate can mean saving more than 5000L of water per year.”
Keep in mind that there is a difference between a good low-flow tap and one that provides no water pressure. Good low-flow taps and showerheads give you the impression of full flow with a reduced water volume. They do this by restricting the amount of water allowed to flow through them or mixing air into the water flow, so while it may not feel different, your water consumption and bills will undoubtedly look different!
Use the dishwasher instead of hand washing
Surprisingly, the dishwasher uses less water than washing your dishes by hand. So, you no longer need to feel lazy filling up the dishwasher as this tip saves you time and water too!
Wait until everything is full
Only turn the dishwasher and washing machine on when you have completely filled the machine. Filling your machines will also mean fewer washes overall!
Use a shower timer or alarm
A well-known tip, and one we like to forget, is to use a timer while having a shower to save water. If you are determined to save water, make it your mission to purchase a shower timer or set your alarm for four minutes each time to ensure your water usage is not excessive.
If you have the option of playing music in the bathroom, choose your favourite song that goes for about four minutes. Hit play as you jump in the shower, and when you hear it stop, you know your time is up!
Check your thermostat
Make sure your hot water thermostat is not set too high. If it is, you will use excess cold water to bring it down to your preferred temperature and risk the safety of you and other household members.
The current regulation for the maximum water temperature allowed to flow through a bathroom and kitchen tap is 50 degrees. This maximum temperature is to prevent scalding and helps to combat the growth of mould in your home.
By checking the temperature of your water thermostat, you can save on the power it uses to heat your water and maintain health and safety regulations.
Consider investing in a thermostatic mixer. It will deliver water at the desired temperature to avoid wasting water while you wait for it to heat up.
Insulate hot water pipes
Insulate your hot water pipes to keep the water warm. In addition, if you can, install the hot water system as close as possible to where it is required in the house so the water won’t have as far to travel.
Replace inefficient amenities with new, efficient models
Toilets, washing machines and dishwashers can all increase your water usage. You should check the water rating label to determine each machine’s water usage - especially before your next purchase.
For example, a dishwasher with a 2-star efficiency rating can, on average, use 3,500 litres more water each year compared to a dishwasher with a 6-star rating. Moreover, an old single-flush toilet can use 12 litres of water per flush compared to a 4-star-rated toilet that may use as little as 3.5 litres of water per flush.
Use little water when brushing your teeth
Instead of leaving the tap on while you brush your teeth, turn the tap on only when you are using the water.
Reuse | maximising water efficiency
Reuse your water with these water-saving tips.
Wash fruit and vegetables in a pot
Instead of washing your fruit and vegetables under running water, fill the sink or a pot with water to clean them. Using this strategy, you will reduce water consumption, and if you use a pot, you can take the used water outside to water your garden.
Use a shower bucket
Every time you are going to have a shower, chances are you turn it on and let it run until the temperature is right. This daily shower is now causing a lot of water wastage - water you could be saving.
Next time, place a bucket under the running tap until it reaches the ideal temperature. You can consequently reuse the water - you may even be surprised by how much you collect. You can reuse the water in the garden to water your fruit and vegetables or to fill up your animals’ water bowl.
Reuse excess drinking water
How often do you fill a glass of water, drink half, and then tip the rest down the sink? Feed it to a thirsty house plant, sprinkle the water onto
Install a greywater system
The water that goes down the drain when you wash your hands or do your laundry is known as ‘greywater’. In other words, it is wastewater that doesn’t contain sewage. If you install a greywater system, it diverts the water so it can be reused and doesn’t go to waste.
For instance, you can divert water from your shower drain to flush the toilet or water your garden. You will need a plumber to set up a greywater system, but it could be well worth the investment!
Become more water-saving aware
While you may not be able to undertake everything on this list, becoming more water-saving aware and actioning a handful of these tips will make a difference to your household water usage and, ultimately, your back pocket.
Share this article and these tips with your friends and family to help them in maximising water efficiency and to become more water-saving aware! The more people make these changes, the more steps we take toward a more water-efficient Australia.
Fall real estate collated the information from this article from the following sources:
Australian Hot Water. (2018). Hot water safety. Retrieved August 2022.
Sustainable Living Tasmania. Water Sustainable Living. Retrieved August 2022.
TankShop. (2022). Water Tank Buying Guide: How to calculate water usage in your home. Retrieved August 2022.
TasWater. (2020). Water Wise. Retrieved August 2022.