Save water at home

Tips to save water inside your home

Buy water efficient appliances and fittings

Look for water rating labels when buying new appliances, taps, showerheads,washing machines and toilets.

The more stars - the more water efficient the appliance. For example, a three-star water-efficient showerhead can save up to 20,000 litres of water per person each year based on a 7-minute shower average.

Install a rainwater tank

Install a rainwater tank and connect it to your toilet, laundry and garden hose. Tanks come in small and large sizes and different styles. The Victorian Government website provides further information on capturing and using raintwater. 

Use less water in the bathroom

Reduce your shower time to 4 minutes and save up to 10,000 litres of water per person per year compared to a 7-minute shower.

Installing a water efficient dual-flush toilet (4+ star) will save over 35,000 litres a year for a family of four. If this is not possible, put a filled water bottle in the toilet cistern so it uses less water to refill.

A water efficient washing machine uses one-third the water of an older model. Washing machines use about 120 litres of water per load, so making sure the water level matches your washing load will save water. 

Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and shaving. Use a glass of water to rinse your mouth instead of using a running tap.

Tips to save water in your garden

Plan your garden

Group plants that require the same amount of water in the same area so that you can water them together.

Set up a windbreak, such as a lattice screen, hedge, fence or a small wall, to protect delicate plants and stop the wind from drying out the soil.

Improve the soil with organic matter

Organic matter like manure, compost or peat makes soil healthy and requires less water and fertiliser. Plants with healthy soil grow faster and better survive hot and dry conditions.

Choose indigenous and low water plants

When you choose a plant for your garden, think about how much water it needs, as well as its size, shape, function and appearance. Many plants, like Australian indigenous plants, need very little water.

Plant less lawn, different, slow-growing grass or grasses that need less water, such as Windsor-green, Santa Anna Bluegrass, Greenlees Park and Wintergreen couch varieties, or use porous/permeable paving or plant ground covers instead.

Sustainable gardening has more information, including booklets and guides on planting with indigenous plants and garden designs.

Follow water restrictions

From 1 December 2012, stage 1 water restrictions were lifted and permanent water use rules were put in place in Victoria.

Water use rules are a set of common-sense rules to reduce demand and make sure water is used efficiently. There are penalties for not following these rules.

Melbourne Water has more information on water use rules.

Use mulch

Mulch is rough particles of organic material like leaves, woodchips, hay or compost. Every part of the garden can be mulched except for tree trunks and plant stems to avoid problems with fungus.

A layer of mulch, at least 7 centimetres thick, straight onto the soil:

  • stops water leaving the soil by up to 70 per cent
  • discourages weeds
  • prevents erosion, and
  • helps the soil stay at the same temperature.

Check your garden regularly

Check your garden every month to check if need to add more mulch and if the irrigation system is working efficiently.

Install a raingarden

A raingarden is like a regular garden with one major advantage - it is positioned to receive rainwater from hard surfaces such as a downpipe from a roof, paved areas or roads. 

The plants in the raingarden can survive in very wet conditions following a rain event or without water for a long period during a drought. 

Using layers of soil and gravel for filtration and planted with a combination of plants, shrubs and grasses, a raingarden reduces the amount of stormwater that would otherwise wash pollutants into the stormwater system and our rivers and creeks.