Water-saving tips

Some simple things you can do every day to help conserve water, so water is there whenever it’s needed.

Water is essential for a thriving taiao (environment) and tangata (people). One great way we can all show care for wai (water), and our communities, is by conserving water.

Conserving water is critical during long spells of dry weather. But there are some simple things you can do every day - no matter the weather - to help make sure water is there whenever it’s needed.

Here are a few top water-saving tips to help you get started.

Anywhere and everywhere

  • Washing your hands? Washing veggies to prepare them for dinner? Cleaning the dishes? It’s easy to lose track of time when we’re standing at the sink. Try and stay present, because the more aware we are of the water we use, the less likely we are to waste it.

  • Share your water-saving tips with friends, whānau, neighbours – anyone really! That way you’re helping make more people even more aware of how they can care for wai.

In the community

  • Be a leak detective. Spotted a leak while out and about? Report it to your local council, so that they can add it to their work programme. If you spot a leak on your property, you’re probably responsible for getting it fixed. So be sure to book a plumber straightaway to get it sorted.

Around your home

  • Follow any water restrictions that your water supplier (usually your local council) puts in place. That way you’ll be doing your part to help make sure we all have the water we need for essentials.

  • Use low flow taps and shower heads – they can help you save lots of litres of water without much mahi.

  • Have a drip? A dripping tap or toilet can waste lots of litres of water a day – so call a plumber as soon as you spot one. That way you’ll save water and save yourself from the dripping noise!

  • Need a new appliance? Using a water-efficient option will mean you’ll save water and save on electricity bills. The Ministry for the Environment has created a water efficiency star rating system to help. It applies for toilets and taps too. Compare the water efficiency rating stickers on these products before making a purchase.


In the bathroom

Did you know? Over 50% of water use at home happens in the bathroom. So, it’s a great place to look for ways to save wai. Here are just a few tips to help you get started.

  • Having a shower? Stick to four minutes. That’s about as long as a song. So, it’s also a great excuse to sing in the shower. Turning off the water while you soap up or wash your hair will save those litres too. Plus, using less hot water will save you money on your power bills!

  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth or shave. Leaving a tap running can use up to 10 litres of water a minute! So, this small change makes a big difference.

  • The water can be cold when the shower starts! If you catch that ‘warming-up’ water in a bucket, you can use it on your garden later.

  • Use the half flush on the toilet, rather than full flush. And flush less often.



In the kitchen

Did you know? Running a tap can use up to 10 litres of water every minute! Here are some easy ways to use less wai in the kitchen.

  • Have a dishwasher? Modern machines are effective without a pre-rinse. Scrape food into the compost (or bin) instead to save time and water. Wash full loads of dishes and use the eco setting (if you have one) to save on water and electricity.

  • Handwashing you dishes? Fill the sink rather than running the tap.

  • Like drinking cold water? Store a pitcher of water in the fridge rather than waiting for the tap to run cold.

  • Making a meal? Use a bowl of water when scrubbing vegetables. You’ll use less water and your leftover water can be used on your houseplants or in the garden.


In the laundry

  • Only turn on your washing machine when you have a full load of laundry. Not only will this save water, it’ll also save on electricity and laundry soap costs.

  • Do your clothes pass the sniff test? Save on water - and wear and tear on your clothes - by stashing them away and wearing them again later. Only wash them if they really need it.

  • Front loaders use less water. Consumer research says that, on average, a top loader uses nearly 135 litres of water per 3.5kg load, whereas a front loader uses 64 litres. 


In the garden

In summer, around 18% of  a household’s water use happens outside. There are lots of ways you can save water in and around your garden.

  • Sweep your paths rather than hosing them down.

  • Mulch your garden by putting pea straw, dry leaves, grass cuttings or wood chips around your plants. This is like putting a blanket around your plants that helps reduce evaporation from the soil by up to 70%.

  • Adding a nozzle to your hose before you wash your car or tend to your garden can help you use less water. Remember to follow any restrictions in place when using hoses!

  • Water using a watering can (rather than a hose or sprinkler) to use less water and get it right where it’s needed most.

  • Watering plants in the early morning or evening prevents evaporation from stealing water away from your plants.

  • Collect rainwater to use to water your garden. But be sure not to drink untreated rainwater! Untreated water can contain germs that could make you sick. Some people will treat rainwater, so that they can safely drink it.

    The Ministry of Health has information available on using water collection tanks for safe household water.

  • A reminder to follow any water restrictions your local council has put in place when it comes to watering your garden. Restrictions during hot, dry weather helps to make sure we all have the wai we need.