Tap into changes around the home and save water
From the VIC Building and Plumbing Commissioner, Tony Arnel
With climate change a reality and much of the state affected by drought, now more than ever, Victorians need to make their homes more water-efficient.
Did you know that the average family flushes in water the equivalent of 80 litres of milk or nine slabs of beer down the toilet every day?
And that is only 20 per cent of the water used by each household daily. The average household consumes more than 400 litres of water every day - that’s enough water to fill a swimming pool every two years.
These are just some of the reasons the Victorian Government introduced the mandatory 5 Star Standard for new homes. Since 2005, all new homes in Victoria must comply with the 5 Star Standard, including a 5 Star energy rating, water efficient taps and either a rainwater tank or a solar hot water system.
Residents of new homes who install a rainwater tank now use 25 per cent less drinking water than the average 2 Star dwelling built before the 5 Star regulations.
While the 5 Star Standard is making a real difference to Victoria, it only applies to the 50,000 homes built since it was introduced.
So what if you are not living in a new home?
The good news is that every Victorian can be water savvy and make their home more sustainable.
Installing a rainwater tank for toilet flushing is one way to save on drinking water. For installation of a rainwater tank always use a licensed plumber. It is also worth visiting www.pic.vic.gov.au for technical information on rainwater tanks, cold water plumbing, hot water plumbing and grey and recycled water.
The Victorian Government's Water Smart Gardens and Homes Rebate Scheme started in January 2003 to support households to use water more wisely by making water saving products more affordable. For information on water rebates, visit www.savewater.com.au or contact your local water authority.
There are also simple changes that you can make to your home:
- Have a plumber install water-saving fittings to outdoor and indoor taps
- Mulch your garden to restrict water evaporation
- Get a plumber to install a dual-flush toilet, if you don’t already have one
- Have a plumber fix dripping taps
- Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when full
- Install a shower timer - a four-minute shower is ample
- Ask your plumber for further advice on recycling water or using water more wisely.
Making your home more water-efficient doesn’t have to be a huge financial commitment; little changes, like turning off the tap while cleaning your teeth, can make a big difference.