Simple Ways To Save Water

I had an epiphany on the toilet the other day. You see, my parents have one of those amazing eco toilet cisterns with a hand basin integrated into the top. As soon as you flush, fresh water runs through the tap into the sink and fills the tank ready for next time. While I was washing my hands in that special little room it struck me how bloody long it takes to fill the tank! It took almost a minute and the water was going full pelt. This is water that is just flushed away usually and we then use additional H20 to wash our hands. I had heard that just one flush of a toilet uses 11 litres of water – and I knew that was a lot – but to actually watch it was quite shocking. I was even more shocked to find out that mum and dads tank was less than half the size of your average dunny! It makes me pretty sad to think that right now 1billion people are suffering without water and we seem to use it so freely.

"Thirsty World" - A photo-essay by Brent Stirton

I am not suggesting that we all stop flushing or revert back to stinky long-drop toilets but we all really do need to look after our water where we can. (just as a note I do think it is pretty crazy that we use fresh water in our toilets in times like these!) Here are some simple ways that we can all save a bit.

Did you know? The average hose delivers about 1000litres of water per hour which is enough for families in the developing world to live for weeks and weeks.

In the kitchen

  • Wash your dishes in a stainless steel bowl in your sink. Once they are done you can use the water on plants – make sure you use eco-friendly detergents or better yet make your own!

  • Only wash your dishes once a day.

  • Don’t rinse dishes and cups under a fast-flowing tap. Keep a bowl of water next to the sink to use throughout the day – This is great to introduce in the workplace!

  • Check your dishwasher for an eco-friendly setting.

  • Rinse your fruit and veg in a bowl of water. Then use that water in your saucepan and steam if you are cooking them.

  • When boiling rice or pasta only use enough water to cover them. This will also reduce the cooking time and save power.

  • Catch running water whilst waiting for it to warm up. Use it to water plants, rinse dishes, or wash fruit and vegetables.

In the bathroom

Image courtesy of

  • Fill up a soft drink container with some sand (to weigh it down), put the lid back on and place in the tank. This will reduce the amount of water it takes to fill the cistern and therefore the amount that gerts flushed away.

  • Install a water efficient showerhead (WELS rated 3 star or above). The Water Corporation has a great incentive where you can swap up to two inefficient showerheads for efficient replacements absolutely free! See here
  • Take shorter showers. Get a timer and aim for 4 minutes.

  • Use less pressure when showering.

  • If you are brave – turn off water while lathering.

  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth.

  • Try not to flush your toilet too much – don’t use it as a bin and don’t flush each time. How does it go? If it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down.

  • Invest in a cistern with an intergrated basin like the Caroma Profile that my parents have.

  • Check your toilet for leaks. Put a few drops of food colouring into the tank and if colour appears in the bowl without flushing then there is a leak!

  • Use a bucket to collect water while you shower (or while waiting for the shower to get hot). Use the water on your gardens or pot plants.

  • Shave your legs before taking a shower. Use running shower water to rinse off.
  • Don’t rinse your razor under a running tap. Filling the basin with a little warm water is just as effective and less wasteful.

In the Laundry

  • Front loaders use less water than top loaders of the same size.

  • Does your washing machine have an eco setting?

  • If it is just a light wash do a quick wash.

  • Only wash when the machine is completely full.

    Image courtesy of

Around the House

  • Invest in a reusable microfibre mop and you will save a bucket of water every time you mop.
  • Use a broom rather than a hose when cleaning paving.
  • Repair any Every year 40,000 litres of water can be collected from a 100m2 roof. Rebates are available from The Water Corporation.

In the Garden

  • Put a layer of mulch (between 5 and 10cms) around your plants roots to slow evaporation, reduce plant stress, protect your soil and reduce weeds.

  • Stick to your watering day. To find out what your day is go here
  • Longer grass means that water takes longer to evaporate. My husband is going to be so happy to know that he doesn’t need to mow so often.

  • Pour water over the root of the plant in a cool part of the day – remember less frequent deep soakings are better than lots of little sprays.

  • Fit your hose with a shut off nozzle so you can water in a fine spray and shut it off while between plants.

  • Remove weeds. They will compete with your plants for water and nutrients.

  • If you have particularly thirsty plants, invest in a watering spike which drip feeds water to the plant as and when it needs it.

  • Choose drought resistant plants and have yourself a native garden. A good rule of thumb is to look for plants with silvery leaves.

  • Don’t water your lawn while it is hot – at the hottest part of the day up to 90% can evaporate.
  • Improve the condition of your soil. Apply a soil improver with a wetting agent in. Add organic matter like compost, worm farm residue or manure.
  • If you have a pool, invest in a pool cover. The Water Corporation says that during summer, it can save up to 55 litres of water a day!

Useful Sites and Links

The Water Project  

The Water Corporation 

Save Water 

3 thoughts on “Simple Ways To Save Water

  1. Pingback: Eco Resolutions | Olive on Blonde

  2. Pingback: Do You Know Your Carbon Footprint? | Olive on Blonde

  3. Pingback: CCWA Article – Top 10 Tips For Saving Water | Olive on Blonde

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