Young Girl Brushing Teeth

A Small Change Can Make a Big Difference

By making small changes around your home, you can help save water and make a big difference to your family, the environment and even your pocket too.

This simple tool can show you how water-wise you are around the home!


  • Keep a container with water in the fridge so you don’t have to run the faucet until it’s cold enough to drink
  • Water from your faucet is hundreds of times cheaper than bottled water and tested more carefully for contaminants. It’s also better for the environment
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruit and vegetables and use on plants around the house
  • If you accidentally drop an ice-cube, throw it in the plant pot rather than the sink
  • Select the correct size pan for cooking – don’t waste energy and water for small amounts of food
  • Don’t use running water to thaw food – instead take out of the freezer in plenty of time, and leave in the refrigerator to defrost
  • Soak pots and pans rather than letting the water run while you wash them
  • Leaky faucets and leaving the faucet running (even by mistake) waste thousands of gallons of water.  Fix all leaks promptly and shut off the faucet when it is not in use.
  • A kitchen tap can use up to 20 litres of water every minute so use a bowl when washing and preparing your vegetables, or doing the washing up. You can use the leftover water to water plants or rinse out your cans and glass jars ready for recycling.
  • Look for water-efficient products using the WaterSense Label.  Models which use less water while performing as well as or better than conventional models.

Know Your Washing Machine

Washing laundry accounts for 15% to 40% of the overall water consumption inside the typical household of four persons, with the average family washing almost 400 loads per year.

Standard Top Loading Washer:  The standard top loading washer will use approximately 40 to 45 gallons of water per load.  A family of four using a standard clothes washer will generate more than 300 loads per year, consuming 12,000 gallons of water annually.

High Efficiency Washers:  High-Efficiency Washers (HEW) can use 14 to 25 gallons of water per load.    Replacing an old and inefficient clothes washer can reduce this water use by more than 6,000 gallons per year, save energy, clean the clothes better, and reduce fabric wear.

  • Run full loads only, even if the washer has an adjustable load setting. A full load is the most efficient way to wash clothes.
  • Replace the old inefficient clothes washer with a new high-efficiency model to save water and energy.

Know your Dishwasher

2000px-Energy_Star_logo.svgDishwashers use energy for heating water and for circulating the water through the machine.  By reducing the amount of water in the machine energy consumption will also be reduced.    New EnergySTAR dishwashers use less than 5.5 gallons of water per load, which is more efficient than washing dishes by hand.

  • Run full loads of dishes only.
  • Install a new ENERGY STAR high-efficiency model to save water and energy.
  • Many new dishwashers do not require you to pre-rinse.  Check your manual to find out if you need to, and determine if you can minimize water usage.


Turn off the taps – by turning off the tap during shaving or brushing your teeth you can save 1000’s of gallons of water per year!

Know Your Toilet

Toilet flushing is the single highest use of water in the average home.  With the average person flushing five times a day, toilets make up about 31% of overall household water consumption.

  • Install a new WaterSense labeled high efficiency toilet (HET) model to save water – new HET toilets use 1.3 gallons per flush, compared to 3.6 gallons for older models.  By installing a new toilet you could save up to 10,000 gallons per year
  • Do not use the toilet as a trash can.  Trash should be discarded in the garbage.
  • If you hear the water running in the toilet tank for an unusual length of time check for leaks.  Leaking or running toilets in a single-family home can waste as much as 6000 gallons of water per day.  Ensure leaks are sorted quickly
  • If your toilet has a water line indicator on the tank, make sure the water is at or below this line when the toilet refills.

Know Your Shower

Shower Timer - Saving Water ToolsIn an average home, showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average shower uses 17.2 gallons and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute.

  • Try cutting back on time spent in the shower by 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Install a 5 minute timer so kids can cut back on time spent in the shower
  • Maybe turn off your shower when soaping and shampooing.
  • If you have to wait a period of time for the hot water to reach the shower, try collecting the normally discarded cold water in a bucket for watering plants and using in the garden.


  • Collect rain water in a water butt
  • Use watering cans for small areas
  • To reduce water evaporation, water your plants early in the morning or early evening during cooler periods
  • Use drought resistant plants

Know your pool

A leak in a swimming pool can cause substantial damage and huge water bills.  For instance a pinhole-sized leak in a pool with 40-pound pressure (psi) will lose approximately 970 gallons of water in a 24-hour period.  This equates to about 30,000 gallons a month or 360,000 gallons per year!!!!

Check for signs, such as loss of water, pool deck cracks, or damp soil surrounding the pool areas.

To check for a leak in your pool try the BUCKET TEST.

  • Place a bucket on the top step of a pool and fill it with water
  • Place a piece of tape on the inside and the outside of the bucket
  • Mark the water level inside the bucket and also that of the pool
  • Wait 24 hours, and place a new mark on both pieces of tape and compare.  If the water level in the pool has dropped more than what is in the bucket you could have a leak.
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