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Saving water in your home & garden

Saving water in your home & garden

Check out our tips below on how to save water:

Save water in the home
  • Wait until the dishwasher is full before turning it on to maximise water use.
  • When you turn on the tap in the sink to get hot water, collect cold water in a jug and use for drinking or to fill the kettle.
  • When using the washing machine, make sure the water level is appropriate for the amount of clothes in the load to save water. Or, wait until you have enough clothes for a full load – one full load takes less time and water than two smaller loads.
  • Use a shower timer to assist in taking shorter showers to save water.
  • Change shower heads to a water efficient design to save water.
  • Fit flow regulators to existing taps in the kitchen, bathroom and shower heads to reduce water flow from 12 litres to 9 litres per minute or less.
  • Replace washers in taps if they are dripping.
  • In Summer, keep a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the cold tap until the water is cool enough.
  • Avoid using the toilet to dispose of tissues or other rubbish. A half toilet flush uses 3 litres of water and a full toilet flush uses 11 litres of water.
  • If building or renovating, replace the toilet (cistern and pan) with the most water efficient model. If just replacing the cistern choose a 9/4.4 dual flush which is suitable for an older style toilet pan.
  • If you think a toilet cistern is leaking, add a couple of drops of food colouring to the water. If the water in the toilet bowl changes colour, the cistern is leaking and should be repaired or replaced.
  • Don’t leave the tap running when shaving and cleaning your teeth.
  • Wash vegetables in a bowl, rather than under running water.
  • Contact your local hardware store for information about products to save water.
Save water outside the home
  • Use a pool cover to stop water evaporating, reduce water top ups, reduce the amount of chemicals needed and to keep the pool cleaner.
  • Consider a rainwater tank to save water. There are many designs for small and large homes and they can be used to water the garden and drinking water.
  • Wash your car on the lawn and use a bucket instead of leaving the tap running.
  • Use a broom to sweep pathways, verandas and the driveway instead of the hose.
  • Clean windows using a bucket instead of the hose.
Save water in the laundry
  • A laundry uses between 15 and 20 per cent of all water consumed in the home.
  • Always look for the highest star rating when buying a washing machine.
  • Front loading washing machines are more water efficient.
  • Select a washing machine that matches the amount of washing you do.
  • Run the washing machine with a full load or select the water level to match the amount of washing.
  • Wash in cold water to save on energy cost. The clothes will be just as clean with a suitable washing powder.
  • Aerators and flow control valves can be added to taps, but check with your local hardware store or machine manufacturer to ensure they don’t affect the operation of the machine.
Save water in the kitchen
  • Fit flow regulators to existing taps to reduce water flow from 12 litres to 9 litres per minute or less.
  • If you have a dishwasher, only use it when you have a full load. If you rinse dishes before loading them, use cold water and don’t use running water, but fill the sink. If the machine has an air-dry setting choose it instead of the heat-dry setting, you will cut your dishwasher’s energy use by between 15 and 50 per cent.
  • When buying a dishwasher always look for the highest star rating for water and electricity. Eighty per cent of the energy your dishwasher uses is for heating the water. Washing dishes by hand could save water.
  • When thawing frozen food or rinsing fruit and vegetables do not use running water, it is much more cost effective to plan ahead and thaw frozen food in the body of the refrigerator.
  • Wash vegetables in a bowl, rather than under running water. The collected water could be recycled and used to soak dirty utensils or dishes.
  • Invest in a tap with a spray nozzle which can be used for rinsing plates and preparing food. Traditionally, they use less water than a standard tap.
  • Vegetables cook beautifully if they’re only just covered with water and the lid is kept on the saucepan. Or you could invest in saucepans that only use enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, this way the vegetables cook in the steam.
Save water in the garden
  • To help retain water in sandy soils, enrich the soil before planting, otherwise water may run through the soils and miss the plant’s root system.
  • Group plants according to their water requirements, ie, don’t plant native species with exotic species as the require different water amounts. Native species may die from waterlogging.
  • Plants thrive better when they are planted in dense patches instead of on their own. Dense plantings provide shadow and shade and stops the soil from drying out. Watering is more efficient and is less likely to evaporate.
  • Choose waterwise plants which need less water and can tolerate dry spells.
  • Don’t water natives regularly if they are more than two years old. Only water when they have tip droop (the tip of the plant is curled over and limp). Or schedule watering for once a fortnight or monthly.
  • Plants close to the edge of paving will dry out quicker than those away from the edge as these paved areas create hot spots if not shaded.
  • Use plants to form a wind break or screen which prevent the ground around plants from drying out quickly. Incorporate pergolas, shade cloth and lattice to provide shelter for outdoor living areas and plant beds.
  • When planting a new garden, seek advice on the most suitable irrigation systems wo save water and money, eg, sub-surface or drip irrigation, sprinklers and overhead sprinklers.
  • Always mulch garden beds to reduce evaporation and to conserve water. Mulch eventually decomposes into the soil, so mulch regularly to retain storage of water.
  • Use a wetting agent on water resistant soil and lawns to help water penetrate to the roots.
Planting shrubs and trees
  • Winter is the best time to plant new shrubs and trees because root systems become established much quicker which helps them survive during summer.
  • Winter is also the ideal time to revegetate tired parts of the garden.
  • Consider planting tube stock or seedlings which suffer less shock when transplanted than larger trees and shrubs. Their root systems are healthier and growth is more rapid.
  • Always water seedlings thoroughly half an hour before planting for easier removal from the tubes.
  • Consider including water saving crystals in the soil mix when planting seedlings to improve water holding capacity.
Planting a vegetable garden
  • Establishing a vegetable garden takes a bit of planning to ensure your crops are successful. First, choose a position in your garden where your vegetable patch will enjoy sun all day, especially in winter when days are shorter. If possible protect the patch from windy conditions without casting shadows on the area.
  • Raised vegetable gardens are convenient and easy to manage. You can buy a purpose built raised garden bed made from corrugated colorbond sheets.
  • Soil needs to be well draining and have good structure. If the soil is poor your crop will be too. Build up the soil with organic matter, compost, composted animal manures, plus straw and like material to give the soil some body.
  • Plant your crop in a north to south direction so all rows receive equal amounts of sun during the day. Also rotate your crop as different plants take different nutrients from the soil.
  • Vegie gardens need regular water and a sufficient amount otherwise the crops won’t grow. Ways to water include hand watering every day, installing a trickle system or fine sprays that provide good penetration. But remember the watering roster still applies and you will need to be vigilant otherwise your patch will not survive.
  • If you have a bigger area try this neat watering idea:

- Firstly, drill holes all around a bucket

- Bury it either partially or entirely in the ground

- Plant the vegies around the bucket

- Fill the bucket with water - the holes allow water to escape, soaking the area and root zone of all the plants around the water source

  • To stop mozzies from breeding in the water, cover the top of the bucket with fly screen or cover with a lid to stop evaporation.

 

 

Benefits of mulch
  • Mulch should be between 50mm and 75mm thick, leaving a 50mm space around each plant stem.
  • Winter is the best time to mulch garden beds.
  • The best waterwise mulch has large, irregularly shaped particles which hold little, if any water. This shape and size means the mulch knits together to prevent erosion while providing big gaps to allow water to flow freely to the ground below.
  • Check with your local garden centre to see which mulch is suitable for your garden.
Wetter soil
  • Western Australian soils do not hold water well and may benefit from a soil wetting agent, designed to make soil more absorbent which helps to conserve water and reduce watering times.
  • Applying wetting agents on lawns and garden beds will assist plant roots to develop and help to stop run off by allowing water to soak through the soil. These products take some time to break down in the soil so they work longer than an ordinary washing up detergent. The detergent will help the water to penetrate into the soil, but it will not last long because it is highly biodegradable.
  • You have a choice between granular and liquid soil wetting agents, although a granular product is easier to use. It is also easier to incorporate into organic material and into different soil types.
  • Wetting agents should be applied before winter otherwise the first rains may run off and be wasted. Reapply in early summer and as many times as the manufacturer recommends.
  • When planting, dig a hole about three times the size of the pot, replace some of the original sand with organic matter, soil improver or potting mix and add the recommended amount of soil wetting agent. Put this mixture into the hole around the plant.
  • Plants in pots and hanging baskets can suffer badly from heat stress, so add water-storing granules to the soil. You can dig them into existing pots or add them to the soil of new pots. You can also add some granules under the shrub’s root system when planting into the garden.
  • Soil type and drainage play a major role in the growth of gardens. As soil types vary from light fine sand to heavy soils containing clay, it may be difficult to select the right wetting agent. Your local hardware store or garden centre will be able to give you the right advice.
Save water in the bathroom
  • Bathrooms are one of the main areas in homes where water can be saved.
  • Change shower heads to a water efficient design to save water.
  • Use a shower timer to assist in taking shorter showers to save water.
  • Fit flow regulators to existing taps in the bathroom and shower heads to reduce water flow from 12 litres to 9 litres per minute or less.
  • Don’t waste water by shaving in the shower – shave first then rinse off.
  • Make sure the thermostat in your hot water system is not set too high because adding cold water to reduce the temperature of very hot water is a waste. This will also reduce energy costs.
  • If you think a toilet cistern is leaking, add a couple of drops of food colouring to the water. If the water in the toilet bowl changes colour, the cistern is leaking and should be repaired or replaced.
  • Don’t leave the tap running when shaving and cleaning your teeth.