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BLOG: Be Water Wise and Reduce your Water Bill

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be water wise

Australia is in the midst of drought, and its not even summer yet. To help conserve our water, level 1 water restrictions are now in place across Greater Sydney following an announcement by the NSW Government. 

More than 85% of Greater Sydney’s water supply relies on rain, meaning the region’s water supply is dramatically affected by droughts. Many NSW and Sydney homes are now receiving desalinated water as dam levels continue to drop. According to Water NSW dams are down to 47.5% capacity and Sydney water has just increased its usage fee from $2.11 to $2.24 a KL. Farmers are suffering across the country due to the drought and the price of some produce is going up for those producers being affected by drought.  So what can you do to help?  Here are some ways to not only help reduce your household water usage as a means to put less pressure on this precious resource, but along the way you’ll also find your water bill might reduce too. 

How to Save Water in Your Home

  • Keep your showers to four minutes, a shorter shower is one of the best ways to help conserve water.
  • Use the half flush to the toilet
  • Upgrade to a washing machine and dishwasher that has a good star rating in terms of water usage and wait until your dishwasher or washing machine is fully loaded before you turn it on.
  • Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth or shave and while soaping your hands.
  • Wash your vegetables and rinse dishes in a plugged sink or basin – not under a running tap.
  • Fix leaking taps and running cisterns and have a WELS 4-star rated water saving showerhead installed along with WELS 4-star rated water efficient taps to help you save on water and energy costs. 

How to Save Water in Your Garden

  • Have a rain water tank installed and use it to water the garden. If you already have one, ensure your garden hose uses this water before accessing the mains water
  • Adhere to water restrictions, ( Level 1 at the moment)  which means only water the garden with a hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle before 10am and after 4pm. Fines of $220 apply to individuals and $550 for businesses who ignore restrictions.
  • Keep a bucket int the shower to collect excess shower water and use this to water your pot plants. This is a watering method which utilises ‘grey water’. You can also collect water in a bucket from the water which comes out of your washing machine. However please only use shampoos, soaps and clothes washing detergents that are grey water safe if you decide to do this, as many household and cleansing products contain chemicals which are bad for your plants and the soil. Anyone can use their grey water for watering the garden, but you must use the water the day its collected as it may grow bacteria if left for more than 24 hours. You should also ensure your grey water is only used on your own property, so don't use this method when it's raining or when the soil is already saturated.
  • Wash your car with a bucket and sponge rather than a hose (you could also use grey water to wash your car)
  • Don’t use a hose to ‘wash’ down pavements, hard surfaces and driveways, instead use a rake or broom to move away debris or spills.
  • Plant native plants in your garden and check they will thrive in your climate and with your soil. Local councils often have native plant sales and can offer advice around which plants are best for which types of soil.
  • Apply uo to 10 cm of mulch around plants to help save water lost through evaporation and to keep soil moist.
  • Pull out weeds as they take water away from the plants you want to grow.
  • Group plants with similar needs to help avoid wasting water.

Sydney Water has offered a fixed price plumbing service for 20 years called WaterFix® which provides qualified plumbers to help customers to reduce their water usage and save money by repairing leaking taps, toilets and shower heads as well as installing toilets, taps and shower heads which are more water efficient.  You can find out more about WaterFix® Residential and their services here.  

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.