Helpful tips to save water when washing and flushing.
Around 40% of water used in the home is in the bathroom. Much of this is wasted, including the 10% that's flushed down the toilet.
There are many ways to save water in the bathroom, including installing dual-flush toilets, using greywater and fixing leaking taps.
Buy a top-rated dual flush toilet, ideally a model with a 4-star water-efficiency rating. Four-star models can save the average home up to 35,000 litres per year: they use just 4.5 litres for a full flush and 3 litres for a half-flush.
Older toilets use around 18 litres per flush. If you can’t afford a new toilet, you can reduce the volume used with each flush by putting a water-filled plastic bottle in your cistern. Don’t use bricks, as they can crumble and stop the system working properly.
If you are building a new home or renovating your bathroom, consider installing plumbing that will flush your toilets using rainwater or greywater.
Don’t use your toilet as a bin. Feminine hygiene products, food waste, baby wipes and goldfish should go in the bin. Flushing them down the toilet not only wastes valuable water, it places additional strain on the sewerage system.
A continuously running toilet can waste up to 60,000 to 96,000 litres of water a year. Unfortunately, toilet leaks often go unnoticed because the water trickles down the back of the bowl.
Follow these simple steps to check if your toilet has a leak:
remove the lid of your toilet cistern
place a few drops of food dye in the cistern
don't flush your toilet for 10 to 15 minutes
when you return, if the dye has seeped down into the bowl, then you know you have a leak.
Toilet leaks are often a result of the rubber valve in the cistern deteriorating. You can contact a licensed plumber to fix this for you.
It is important to check your toilet for leaks every few months so you can be sure it is not wasting any water.
Watch our helpful video on how to check for a toilet leak.
If you have a leaking tap, replace the washer or other components as required. A dripping tap can waste 30 to 200 litres of water a day, and up to 12,000 litres a year. A running tap uses about 16 litres of water a minute.
Turn the tap off when you're brushing your teeth. Wet your brush and use a glass for rinsing.
Don’t rinse your razor under a running tap. Filling the basin with a little warm water is just as effective and less wasteful.
Don’t over-tighten taps. It can wear the washer and cause leaks.
Install mixer taps in showers. They can reduce the potential for scalding, and they save large quantities of water wasted trying to get a comfortable water temperature.
In basins and sinks, it's best to install separate hot and cold taps. Mixer-type taps are usually left in the middle position, which wastes warm water. Each time the tap is run for a glass of cold water or to rinse a toothbrush, hot water is drawn off and left to cool in the pipe without ever being used.
If you need to run a tap to get warm water, collect it to water plants, rinse dishes or wash fruit and vegetables.
Fit flow-controlled aerators to your taps – they are inexpensive and can reduce water flow by 50%. Check out our simple how-to video.
Your shower is one of the easiest and most cost-effective places in the home to reduce water use. Taking shorter showers lowers water use, decreases wastewater and produces fewer CO2 emissions.
If you shower for six minutes, a water-efficient showerhead can save up to 50 litres of water for each shower or up to 20,000 litres of water per person a year. An inefficient showerhead can use between 15 and 20 litres of water every minute.
An efficient WELS three-star rated showerhead gives a high-quality shower and uses as little as 5 litres every minute. Check out our helpful video on how to replace a showerhead.
Use a shower timer – choose from a manual four-minute egg timer or a more sophisticated electronic timer that attaches to the shower wall or showerhead, or is wired into the wall during construction.
Use a bucket to collect water while you wait for the shower to get hot, and use it to water plants, rinse dishes or wash fruit and vegetables.
Shave your legs before you take a shower, then use running shower water to rinse off.
Many people believe that baths waste a lot of water. However, a bath can often use less water than a shower. Only fill the tub with as much water as you need.
Check the temperature as you fill the bathtub – having to add extra hot or cold water after you've filled the tub is wasteful.
Regularly check your plug for leaks and replace it as necessary.
Use a bucket to use bathwater to wash your car or water the garden – but check that the soap or detergent in the water won’t harm your plants.
Hot water system and pipes
Make sure your hot water pipes are insulated, as this saves water and energy.
Consider installing an instantaneous water heater if your existing water heater isn't located near the bathroom. Talk to a plumber first though, to make sure it will work adequately with your showerhead.
Check that your hot water system thermostat isn't set too high – if you need to add cold water to cool very hot water, you're wasting water. New hot water systems allow you to specify the temperature without adding cold water.
Install a plumbing device that allows the cold water to be recirculated until it warms up.
Smart Approved WaterMark
We're working with Smart Approved WaterMark to provide information on water-efficient products and services.
Products and services awarded the Mark have been independently assessed by the Smart Approved WaterMark panel to help you save money and water.
Smart Approved WaterMark is managed by The Water Conservancy, a not-for-profit advisory hub. To find out more, visit smartwateradvice.org.
Rebates for water-efficient products
You might be eligible for rebates, subsidies or free offers on some water-efficient and water-saving products.
Check with your council and water utility or visit the Australian Government's Energy website.