The 5 R’s of Saving Water

Just as there are 3 R’s for minimising waste, there are 5 R’s of saving water. Below they are loosely numbered in order from the cheapest and easiest to apply to the more complex and expensive options.

  • 1. Reduce your water use by adopting more water-efficient habits. For example, don’t shave your legs in the shower, potentially using between seven and 30 litres of water per minute. Instead, use a filled hand-basin of water. More water-saving tips are included in other pages of this section.
  • 2. Repair any dripping taps or faulty plumbing devices promptly. A small drip can waste 75 litres per day. You can use your water metre to help you check for leaks by taking and comparing two readings taken several hours apart when you know no water has been used during the intervening period (for example, overnight when the household is asleep or during the day when the household is at school or work).
  • 3. Retrofit your house, replacing any water wasting devices with more efficient models. Start with small, inexpensive items such as tap aerators or flow restrictors or a water-saving showerhead. Choose more water-efficient whitegoods when old ones reach the end of their life.

    If you live in an area connected to mains water supplies, these previous three approaches will reduce your use of drinking quality tap water.
  • 4. Collect the free Rainwater that falls from the sky and store it in a rainwater tank. Environmental health authorities generally don’t recommend this water for drinking as it can contain illness-causing pathogens. People relying on rainwater tanks for all their water needs should only drink boiled rainwater. Rainwater can be used to water gardens and top up swimming pools. They can also be plumbed into the house for laundry use or to flush toilets. See the Rainwater page for more information.
  • 5. Recycle your greywater within the requirements of environmental health authorities in your state or territory. Greywater is the waste water from bathrooms, laundries and the kitchen, not to be confused with blackwater, which is the waste water from the toilet. Untreated greywater can be used on the garden, while treated greywater can be used in the laundry and toilet. See the Greywater page for more information.