Australians are being urged to rethink the way they use water as a way of helping to conserve this most precious resource for future generations.
The focus is one of several key messages the Australian Water Association (AWA) is hoping to draw attention to ahead of National Water Week, which takes place October 19 to 25.
The theme of this year’s event is ‘Reimagining our Water Future’.
The AWA says access to clean water is hugely important to our daily lives, and it’s down to each one of us to do our bit to protect our water environments and resources.
“Australia needs to ensure water security in a drying and variable climate, particularly in urbanised and city areas where rainfall and runoff have declined significantly,” the AWA says.
“As our population grows, this will put more stress on our water resources, so how can we reimagine the way we use and reuse water to ensure there’s enough of it in the future? How can we rethink our current water practices to help conserve valuable water resources? What can we do as individuals and as communities to inspire a more sustainable water future?”
As experts in this field, the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW says there are a number of ways strata residents can cut down their water usage while being kinder to the environment and recommends the following.
Cleaning under a running tap is like pouring money down the train, the Ombudsman’s office says.
Instead, always try to use a plug when washing the dishes by hand. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a strata residence with a dishwasher, always run it with a full load, on economy mode or fast wash cycles, and remember to clean the filters regularly.
Where possible, only use the amount of water you need in cooking pots and try to always place the lid on when heating water in saucepans. Not only does this help the water heat faster but it also helps prevent evaporation.
When making your coffee or tea, try not to overfill your kettle to save unrequired water being wasted.
Also consider washing fruit and vegetables in a bucket or bowl, then you can reuse the water on your plants.
Laundries and bathrooms
As with most appliances, selecting a water efficient tap and an energy efficient washing machine will make it much easier for you to conserve water. The Ombudsman says a tap dripping 45 times per minute wastes around 2,000 litres a month, therefore it is imperative that you act quickly to fix leaking toilets and taps.
Toilets use a lot of water with older models discarding up to 12 litres of water per flush. For this reason, it’s important to check your toilet’s cistern isn’t leaking by watching for water flowing after you flush. By comparison, dual-flush toilets use only three litres on a half-flush so consider whether it is necessary to use the full flush button each time you use the toilet.
It may also be worthwhile double checking your fixtures and fittings to ensure you are using water efficient showerheads and taps. Check and compare water flow rates on labels. Showers use significantly less water than baths, as long as you keep them to 10 minutes or less. Keep this in mind the next time you are tempted to indulge in a long soak in the bath tub.
When living in strata, if you have a leaking tap in the kitchen, laundry or bathroom please know that this is your responsibility as a lot owner to fix. If you are a tenant, please advise your property manager so they can contact the owner to arrange repairs.
A common misunderstanding is that it is not your responsibility to fix leaking taps within your apartment. Actually it is your responsibility. So if you have a leak, please arrange to fix it quickly to save water.
If there is a leak on common property, then it is the responsibility of the body corporate or owners corporation to fix. Should you see a leaking tap on common property, please advise your Community Manager immediately so repairs can be done.
Any effort made to minimise water usage indoors will be wasted if this same approach isn’t adopted outdoors.
When looking to tidy up garages, storage cages and shared outdoor facilities, think about giving the hose and water a break and use a broom or rake instead.
When washing your car onsite, be efficient and limit water usage. Use a bucket and never keep the hose running when not in use.
Lastly, in terms of gardens, the Ombudsman’s office suggests planting native plants in common areas that are used to our climate and can flourish on very little water.
With your balcony or courtyard plants, consider watering them with water you can save from the kitchen or shower or bath. They’ll hopefully thank you for the extra drink by producing beautiful blooms.
For more tips on ways you can recycle or reduce your water usage, speak with your Community Manager or contact the AWA.