How to save water (and money)

Last updated: 11 January 2021

The facts about water

  • 71% of the earth is covered in water
  • 97% of all the water on the earth is salt water, which is not suitable for drinking
  • 3% of the earth’s water is fresh water, but only 1% is available for drinking (the other 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers)

Our usable water supply is finite. In other words, we do not have an endless supply of water.

Why save water?

With a limited supply of water, it is crucial that we use it wisely and care for it properly.

Some of the reasons why we should conserve water:

  • help protect and preserve our environment (including wildlife)
  • minimise the effects of drought and water shortages
  • save energy and money – saving water will reduce your water and energy bills
  • recreational activities from water sports to gardens and public parks
  • build safe and beautiful communities – firefighters, street cleaners and hospitals (to name a few) all rely on large quantities of water.

How to save water (and money)

Install a water-efficient shower-head

A water-efficient shower-head uses 40% less water, which will save you water, energy and money. Free replacement of old shower-heads with water saving shower-heads is an eligible activity under the Victorian Energy Saver scheme. Speak to your local water retailer to see whether they can do this for you.

Keep showers short and sweet

A standard shower-head uses 15 to 25 litres of water per minute. That's around 120 litres of water for an eight minute shower. Keep your showers short and use a timer so you're aware how long you have the water running. You might also consider taking fewer showers.

Learn how to reduce your hot water costs.

Calculate hot water running costs.

Collect rainwater

From a bucket under a rust hole in the guttering to a large, portable rain barrel from your hardware store, there are many ways to collect rain water. Save water by using this collected water for various purposes around the house, such as watering the garden.

Read more about using rainwater.

Purchase water-efficient appliances and use them wisely

If you're buying a new washing machine or dishwasher, make sure it has high water efficiency and energy ratings. Front-loading washing machines are usually the most water efficient, using up to 50% less water. Wait until you have a full load of clothes or dishes before running the machines, and use the economy cycle if you have one. If you must run the machines when they’re not full, adjust the water level to suit the size of the load.

Learn about energy efficient appliances.

Look for the Smart Approved WaterMark

water rating label

Choose products and services labelled with a Smart Approved WaterMark. Items with this label have been assessed by technical experts to make sure they achieve water savings.

Install a dual flush toilet

Replace single-flush or older dual-flush toilets with a more water-efficient dual-flush model. This can be done by either replacing the flush mechanism, the cistern or the whole toilet.

Check your toilet for leaks by placing a few drops of food colour into your cistern. If the colour appears in the bowl within 15 minutes, there is a leak that should be repaired immediately.

If you have a single flush toilet, insert a water displacement device into your tank, or simply place a plastic bottle filled with water in the cistern. If you have a dual-flush toilet, use the half-flush where appropriate and consider using recycled or 'grey-water' to flush your toilet.

Grey-water is waste or recycled water from various sources in your house, including your bath, bathroom sink, laundry, kitchen sink and shower. Reusing grey-water is a great way to save drinking water, but it is important to familiarise yourself with simple safety precautions that need to be considered when using it.

Learn more about efficient toilets and grey-water on the YourHome website.

Save water outside

Saving water in the garden is about the way you use water and the type of garden you have.

Water saving tips

  • Replace non-indigenous plants with Australian varieties that are built to withstand dry conditions.
  • Consider planting a rain-garden to capture storm-water or overflow from a rainwater tank.
  • Use grey-water or rainwater to water your garden.
  • Water early in the morning or late in the afternoon to reduce the water wasted through evaporation.
  • Be aware of your local water restrictions and follow them. Register with your water supplier for updates.
  • Wash your car or boat at a car wash that recycles water and detergents.
  • Repair splits and leaks in hoses and pipes.

Learn to use water efficiently

Water savings and rebates

  • Target 155 - Target 155 is a voluntary water efficiency program to encourage metropolitan Melbourne householders to limit their consumption to 155 litres per person per day.
  • Target your water use - Target Your Water Use is a similar program to Target 155 for regional Victoria.

Water saving resources