How to create an airtight home
First things first, it's best to find hidden leaks. Often, we wait until it's too late (when the water bill arrives) before finding the water-wasting culprit. To catch unseen leaks, perform a two-minute leak test. Ensure no one is using the water in your house. At your water meter, write down the numbers you see. Don't use the water for two minutes and record the number again. If the numbers move, this means you have a leak. If this is the case, it's best to call a plumber in to identify the problem. If no numbers move, you're leak free.
It sounds easy, but there are many people who don't reuse their own drinking glasses throughout the day (there could be a serial offender in your very own household!). By reusing and refilling the same glass for water throughout the day you'll save litres of water usually wasted by unnecessary rinsing.
When rinsing vegetables, fill the sink halfway with water. Let leafy veggies that trap dirt, such as lettuce or spinach, sit in the sink for a couple of minutes to loosen the dirt, rather than try to rinse them under a tap. When steaming veggies, keep the water afterwards, allow to cool, and use it on plants to give them a nutrient-rich soaking.
There are varying levels of water pressure around Australia. This means you need to fit hose nozzle attachments accordingly to ensure they don't pop off when you turn the hose on full blast, wasting litres of water in a matter of seconds. There are many hose kits and separate nozzles for many different hose types, so have a chat to a garden professional at your local Bunnings to see which is best for your needs.
Mulching is a great way to encourage water conservation. Mulch prevents the top of the soil from drying out – keeping it moist and making sure it stays at a constant temperature. It can also reduce the need for watering by about 60 per cent. Mulching also prevents pesky weeds from showing up. There's a vast range of mulches available, including straw mulches, like pea straw, lucerne, bean, and cane, as well as bark-based mulches, or even scoria, gravel and stone river pebbles. A yearly top-up is usually enough.
Washer-dryer combos use condenser technology, which uses water to dry clothes. This means that litres of water are being used to dry your clothes and you could be none the wiser. It pays to ask questions and do your research before you purchase. Alternatively, instead of using a dryer, try to schedule your drying times when the sun is out.
If you live in a leafy area, you're most likely surrounded by gum trees but plagued by the leaves that clutter your spouting. This can affect your rainwater tank collection as leaves stop the flow of water. Some tanks are fitted with a standard leaf filter, but there are other components and tank accessories to help your rainwater harvesting efforts.
Use a bucket in the shower to collect grey water, as a scoop for bath water and to collect the water from your washing machine's final rinse cycle. Another option is to have a grey water diverter connected to your outdoor pipes and have a large container to catch the water there. This water can be used on the garden, but be cautious when using grey water from the shower as some soaping agents can harm plants.
For more quick and easy water-saving tips, check out our advice on sustainability.