Water saving tips for the home and garden
Similar in appearance to the energy rating you see on kitchen and laundry appliances, the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) provide Australian consumers with a simple way of choosing the most water efficient appliances and fittings for their home and garden.
Using a zero to six star ratings system – the more stars on the label, the more water efficient the product – these user-friendly labels help you compare which products will help you reduce water consumption throughout the day.
Though the scheme was initially designed to cover shower roses, dishwashers, toilet suites, urinals, taps and washing machines, other water using appliances have progressively been covered over the past few years.
8 WELS-rated water saving upgrades for the home
Low flow showerhead: Low flow showerheads use considerably less water than standard ones, saving roughly 14,500 litres per household each year.
Shower flow control device: Restricting the flow of water to the showerhead, these devices can also be fitted to household taps. (Just ensure that both these and the low flow showerhead mentioned above are compatible with your home’s hot water system.)
Tap aerators: Flow controlled aerator adaptors are pretty easy to install and can reduce the water flow from between 15 litres per minute to either 6, 9 or 12 litres per minute.
Dual flush toilet: This water-saving system gives you the option to flush either half or all of the cistern water, resulting in savings of around 51 litres per person per day.
Washing machine: Top-loading machines, generally speaking, tend to be more efficient than front-loading models. A WELS washing machine could save about 25,600 megalitres of water per year, which is enough to fill 12,500 Olympic swimming pools every 12 months. (According to WELS, this is a reduction of about 8.8 per cent in the water consumption of the clothes washers sold between 2003 and 2016).
Dishwashing machine: A WELS-rated dishwasher uses half the water typically used by traditional models.
Hot water systems: Insulating hot water pipes prevents water and power wastage. Also make sure your hot water thermostat isn’t set too high as adding cold water to cool the temperature of water is wasteful.
Rain water tanks: Harvesting rainwater to use in the home and garden can save thousands of litres of water each year, per household, and reduce your reliance on mains water. If you are considering purchasing a rainwater tank for your home, contact your local council to make sure you have the right sized water tank for your needs.
10 water saving tips for gardeners
- Watering your garden is best done in the cool of the day
- Group plants together with the same moisture needs
- Remove weeds as they compete for water and nutrients
- Deep watering once or twice a week encourages root growth deep into the soil
- Always check soil moisture before watering to see if it’s already damp. Part the mulch and check 2-3cm below the surface
- Check garden soil has not dried out and become water repellent. If so use a soil wetting agent
- Add soil improver to existing soil as this helps add nutrients and retain moisture in poor soil
- Install a drip irrigation system as this will deliver water to the root system where it is needed and eliminate evaporation and run off (just remember to check current water restrictions)
- Mulch helps suppress weeds, keep the soil cool and retain moisture so apply 75-100mm thick and top up as it breaks down (ensure soil is damp and absorbing water before applying mulch)
- Check out the range of water saving products from your local garden centre, which range from basic mulch to water storage crystals and soil wetting agents.