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Some water experts say that by reducing water use by 50 litres per person per day, we could delay or completely avoid the need for new water provision infrastructure (for example, new dams or desalination plants), and even lift restrictions.

If you’re keen to help, there are plenty of steps you can take at home. Here, we explain how to limit your household’s water use in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry and outdoors. We also explain how to use household greywater without ruining your garden.

The shower

It’s easy to save water in the shower by making a few simple changes

  • Cut your shower time to four minutes or less.
  • Get a water-saving showerhead.
  • Install an easy on/off switch.

Top tips for taps

  • Install water-efficient taps, known as aerators, which give the feel of a high flow-rate with only half the water. They’re simply screwed onto the end of a tap and reduce the flowrate while aerating the water.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. It seems so obvious, but many people still leave the water running, wasting at least 5L per minute. That’s around 11,000L per person per year.

The toilet

Replacing your whole toilet may not be worthwhile unless you’re renovating the bathroom. But if you’re going to install a new toilet anyway, make sure you get a modern dual-flush 6/3L (or 4.5/3L) cistern and pan.

Washing the dishes

Dishwashers these days generally use a lot less water than they used to – often less than washing dishes by hand in the sink. The average water consumption of a dishwasher in our tests is about 13L. Conservative estimates of handwashing show at least 20L is used. Less conservative scenarios go as high as 90L (presumably involving lots of running water being wasted).

Washing machines

Front loaders typically use a lot less water than top loaders. They can be more expensive initially, but you may be entitled to water retailer rebates. See our washing machine reviews for information on water efficiency of all models.

Washing the car

When cleaning your car at home, remember to clean on the lawn if you have one; or, if you don’t want to damage your lawn with the weight of the car, wash on the driveway and direct the waste to the lawn with barriers.

The average bucket and sponge wash uses 100L of water, or the equivalent of 10 buckets per wash, according to Sydney Water. We managed an effective bucket and sponge wash on a small/medium-sized car with just two buckets, though, using a watering can to rinse the car.

Rainwater tanks

There are plenty of benefits to installing a rainwater tank, and you don’t need to live in a wet or tropical area to reap the rewards. South Australia, the country’s driest state, has the highest rate of rainwater tank use. More than half the households there have one, and for more than a third it’s their main source of drinking water.


For all your emergency and general plumbing needs throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast, you can reply on National Plumbing. We are open 7 days, have no call out fees and offer a same day service. You can call us on 1300 246 627.