Being waterwise in the bathroom, laundry and kitchen

Being waterwise in the bathroom, laundry and kitchen
Being waterwise in the bathroom, laundry and kitchen
Whether we have an abundance of water or whether
we are in drought, we all need to think about how
much water we use, how we are using it, and what
types of contaminants and detergents we are
flushing away with our wastewater.
You can help to safeguard our water and our
environment by making some simple changes
around your home.
How much water do you use?
One of the first steps you can take is to find out how much
water you really use. Do this by:
6 checking your rates notice. In some areas your local
council will provide you with water use information on
your rates notice. This can include how much water your
household uses per day and the daily average use for
households within your local area.
6 checking your water meter. Write down your meter
reading and check it again seven days later around
the same time of day. The difference between the two
readings is your weekly water consumption. Divide
this by seven for an estimate of your daily use for your
household. To identify how much water you use in your
household per person per day, divide the daily use by
the number of people in your house.
6 undertaking a home water use audit. Contact your local
council for a copy of the home waterwise quiz brochure.
Once you know how much water you use, contact your
local council to find out whether there is a voluntary water
target in your local area. If one doesn’t exist, set your own!
Your aim is to use less water so make sure you set an
achievable target.
Remember, by saving water you will also save:
6 energy—it takes energy to treat, transfer and heat water.
The less water you use, the less energy you use and the
less greenhouse gases you create
6 the environment—the less wastewater you generate, the
less contaminants and detergents you release into our
rivers and oceans.
Tomorrow’s Queensland: strong, green, smart, healthy and fair
How do you read your water meter?
A water meter measures the amount of water that each
property uses. It will generally be located towards the
front of a property. Most are at or below ground level
with a metal or plastic lid.
If you live in a unit or apartment block, there may not
be an individual water meter for each residence.
There are a range of different water meters in use
across the state. The black numbers always register
kilolitres (kL; thousands of litres), while the red
numbers or dials register litres or parts of litres.
Up to 16 per cent of household water is flushed down
the toilet.
For example:
This water meter reading indicates that 452 953 litres
of water has been used since this meter was installed.
Read only the first three red numbers or dials. If there
is a fourth red number or dial this indicates tenths of a
litre. Numbers are read from left to right, while dials are
read in a clockwise direction.
If you have trouble reading your water meter, contact
your local council.
6 Unnecessary flushing is one of the biggest wasters of
water. Don’t flush needlessly, and never flush items other
than toilet paper down the toilet.
6 Use the half-flush option on dual-flush toilets.
6 Replace your older-style toilet with a 4-star dual-flush
system. This can save you up to 8 litres of water with
every flush.
6 If this is not practical, try reducing the volume of water
you use with each flush. You can do this by installing a
flow restrictor or by putting a bottle filled with water in
the cistern.
6 Use tank water to flush. Talk to your plumber about having
your rainwater tank internally plumbed to your toilet.
Where do you use your water?
Showers, baths and basins
In a typical household 35–55 per cent of water is used
outdoors, 30–37 per cent in the bathroom, 10–13 per cent in
the laundry, 9–13 per cent in the kitchen and 1–10 per cent is
due to leakage.
A standard shower can use 20 litres of water per minute. To
use less water in the shower, try the following:
6 Install a water-efficient shower head. A 3-star rated
shower head will use no more than 9 litres of water
per minute.
6 Take a shorter shower. Shorter showers will not only save
water but will help to save on the energy associated with
heating the water.
6 Insulate your hot water pipes. This means you will
not need to wait as long for the hot water to flow
through—saving you both water and energy.
6 Make sure your hot water system thermostat is not set too
high. Adding cold water to reduce the temperature of very
hot water wastes both water and energy.
6 Use a bucket to catch water while the shower warms up.
You can then reuse this water on your garden.
For baths and basins:
6 use a plug when washing your hands and face
6 turn off the tap while cleaning your teeth or shaving
6 use as little water as possible in the bath. Put the plug in
before you turn on the tap and fill the bath to less than a
third. You may also like to bath small children together.
The laundry is a place where you not only use a lot of water
but you also use energy and detergents.
The best way to save water in the laundry is to make sure
that you select the right washing machine. Select one that
has a water rating of 4 stars or more. This will usually mean
a front-loading washing machine. On average, front-loading
washing machines use up to 50 per cent less water, 35 per
cent less detergent and 30 per cent less energy than
top loaders.
Here are some other changes you can make to your
laundry habits:
6 If you stop using your washing machine every day, you can
sort and wash bigger loads more efficiently.
There are many ways to save water in the kitchen.
Did you know that a 5-star water-efficient dishwasher uses
as little as 7 litres of water? This means that a water-efficient
dishwasher will use less water than washing dishes by hand.
You can save even more water by thinking about how you
use your water-efficient dishwasher. Make sure you:
6 only use the dishwasher when you have a full load
6 scrape your plates clean instead of pre-rinsing your dishes
under the tap.
6 Pre-treat stains before you wash. This will reduce the
chances of having to rewash.
Non-water efficient dishwashers can use up to 25 litres of
water a cycle. If you have this type of dishwasher, you will
save more water if you wash your dishes by hand.
6 Make sure that everyone picks up and sorts the clothes
they wear each day. That way, clean clothes won’t get
washed just because they are left lying on the floor.
If you hand-wash your dishes, don’t rinse them under
running water. A running kitchen tap can use up to 15 litres
of water a minute.
6 If you are washing clothes by hand, use only as much
water as you need in the sink or bucket. Reuse this water
in your garden.
6 If you have two sinks, half-fill the second with rinsing
water. If you only have one sink, rinse the washed dishes
in a pan of hot water.
6 Divert greywater from your washing machine for
immediate use on your garden, but don’t use it on
your vegetables. Also consider using biodegradable,
low-phosphorous, low-sodium and low-nitrogen
detergents, which are better for the garden.
6 Don’t use running water to wash your vegetables or to
defrost food. Instead, wash your vegetables in a bowl and
place your frozen food in the fridge to thaw overnight.
6 Scrape your dishes and soak your pots and pans to
remove food rather than rinsing them under running water.
6 Garbage disposal units can use up to 6 litres of water a
day and also put extra rubbish into the sewage. Rather
than putting your food scraps down the drain, put them
into compost or a worm farm.
6 Encourage your children to empty their water bottles onto
your garden or pot plants instead of down the sink.
Check for leaks
A lot of water around the home can be lost because of
leaking pipes and dripping taps. Just one slowly dripping tap
can waste 9000 litres of water a year, while a visibly leaking
toilet can waste more than 60 000 litres.
Make sure that you turn all your taps off properly, check
for leaks, repair leaking taps, and check washers for wear
and tear.
You can check if your toilet is leaking by putting a little food
colouring in the tank. If the food colouring appears in the
bowl without flushing, have the cistern repaired immediately.
To find out if you have a leak in your pipes, turn off all taps
and make sure that nobody will be using any water. Check
your water meter and make a note of the reading. Recheck
the meter after at least one hour. If the reading has changed,
you may have a leak. This needs to be found and fixed.
More information
Visit the Department of Environment and Resource
Management website <>
or contact your local council or distributor-retailer.
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