Water wise habit
IN THE HOME
WATER EFFICIENT PRODUCTS
Water is a national priority issue, and households account for about 16% of the consumption of the mains-supplied water in Australia, the second largest share of mains water use after agriculture. Choosing a water-efficient product is one way to reduce water usage and save money. The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme can assist purchasers of household water-using products to compare the relative water efficiency of the available models. The Scheme operates in the same way as the ‘5 Star’ energy rating scheme, which compares the relative energy efficiency of products.
The WELS rating scheme is a new scheme, and is similar to the ‘5A Appliance labelling & Rating Scheme’ used to identify a product’s water efficiency rating. These schemes rate products covering groups such as:
- Shower heads
- Clothes washing machines
- Taps and tap outlets
- Toilet suites or matching-set cisterns
- Install dual-flush toilets
- Make sure your toilet button doesn’t stick open after flushing
- Test your toilet for leaks. Put food colouring in your toilet tank and if it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. By fixing the leak you can save more than 2,250 litres a month.
- Install low-flow showerheads. They can save a typical family over 1,800 litres a week.
- By spending 2 minutes less in the shower, you’ll save over 425 litres a month.
- Plug the bathtub before turning the water on, and then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth to save a family of four an average of 94 litres per week.
- Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition hair and you can save more than 180 litres a week.
- Turn off the water while you shave and you can save more than 350 litres a week.
Match the water level to the size of the load
- Avoid rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher
- Run the dishwasher only when it is full and you could save over 1,500 litres a month
- Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while scraping them clean.
- Designate one glass to drink water from each day to reduce the number of times you run the dishwasher
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- Install an instant hot water heater on the kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up.
- Use the kitchen garbage disposal less often
- Don’t use running water to thaw food
- Wash produce in the sink or a container that is partially filled with water instead of running water from the tap
- Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks
IN AND AROUND THE GARDEN
The average garden hose delivers 1,000 litres of water an hour and about 35-50% of all domestic water is used in the garden. It is important to select appropriate plants for local conditions and understand how much water those plants really need. Most of our gardens contain plants inappropriate for our environment, and we also often water far more than we should. Practical habits to save water in and around the garden include:
WATER EFFICIENT PRODUCTS
When selecting water products for use outside the home look for those that are rated favourably for their water efficiency. In Australia , the Smart Approved Watermark is available for products that achieve specific efficiency ratings.
Select water efficient plants.Prepare the garden bed with good soil, water storing granules and wetting agent. Group plants with similar water requirements together.Only water until the top 15-20cm of soil is wet. If more than 10mm of water pools above the soil, water will seep past the feeder root zone and is wasted.Mulch garden beds with wood chips, chipped tree waste, gravel or stone to retain moisture and control weeds that compete with plants for water.If the soil is water repellent, apply soil-wetting agents in spring to help water retention.
Minimise grass areas in the yard and use water-efficient landscaping instead. Accept that a less-than-lush lawn during periods of drought will readily regenerate when water becomes available.
Use trigger operated hose nozzles.Avoid watering in the middle of the day or when it is windy to reduce water loss through evaporation.Install automatic timers and restrict the time that sprinklers are left on.Reduce watering times and days wherever possible.
Pool covers can reduce evaporation losses by up to 90 per cent and help keep water clean.
Check for leaks in hoses and taps, and repair leaky equipment.Sweep rather than hose paths and driveways.
Water Forever – South East Queensland – website
Savewater – Victoria – website
Sydney Water – New South Wales – website
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||S Fenner WA
||J Van Der Hoeven QLD
||Fiona Rayns ACT