Water efficiency tips for indoors, outdoors and at work

Turn the tap off while brushingIn the bathroom

  • Brush your teeth with the tap off. 
  • Use the half-flush button on the toilet where possible.
  • Cut your shower time to 4 minutes. 
  • When shaving, fill the sink with water rather than running the tap.
  • Fix leaking taps, toilets and showers immediately. Check for leaks.
  • Install water-efficient devices where possible.
  • Avoid flushing items like wet wipes down the toilet. Save water and reduce problems in our sewer system by putting them in the bin.

In the laundry

In the kitchen

  • Only wash full dishwasher loads. 
  • Scrape plates clean instead of rinsing.
  • Do not use running water to thaw food.
  • Soak your pots and pans rather than scrubbing them under running water.
  • Rinse vegetables in a container and use water in the garden.
  • Fix leaking taps. Check for leaks.
  • Install water-efficient devices.

Water leaks

Your water meter can also help you detect possible water leaks.

If the last dial on your meter is spinning and you aren’t aware of any water being used, you probably have a water leak. You should contact a licensed plumber as soon as possible to repair the leak.

Read more about checking for leaks.

Only water your garden if you have to Maintaining the garden

  • Choose drought-tolerant plant and lawn species.
  • Use good-quality soil with plenty of organic matter.
  • Mulch and compost your garden regularly. Good mulches, including sugar cane, wood chips, gravel and stone, increase water absorption and the moisture content of soil.

  • Pull out weeds, as they compete with your garden plants for moisture and nutrients.

  • Leave your lawn long (2.5cm). This will help retain moisture in the soil and encourage deeper root growth.


  • Water gardens and lawns in the morning and evening when it is cooler.
  • Only water when you really need to. If rain is forecast, let Mother Nature attend to it for you.

  • Water deeply and less frequently to encourage plants and lawn to grow deeper roots and be more resilient to dry times. Twice a week should be sufficient if you have a well-mulched garden, suitable soil and established plants.

  • Consider other sources of water such as a rainwater tank or your laundry greywater.


Tips for your pool

  • Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation
  • Install a shade cloth over the pool to help reduce evaporation
  • Install a rainwater tank or downpipe diverter to top-up your pool instead of using town water
  • Check for leaks around the pool (see below for instructions on how to check your pool for leaks)
  • Plant some bushes around the pool to protect it from wind, which causes evaporation
  • Use our handy pool and spa fill guide to estimate how much it will cost to fill or top up your pool or spa.

Checking your swimming pool for leaks

Unfortunately, lots of people get caught out with increased water bills because of pool leaks. Swimming pool leaks are your responsibility. Here are a few tips to help you check your pool for leaks:

  • Check for bubbles in the return lines when the pool pump is running. If there are bubbles, there may be a leak in the suction side of the filtration system. Check to ensure the pump basket lid is on tight and the lid O-ring is lubricated and in good condition.

  • If your pool is losing water while the pump is running, check the waste or backwash line for running water. The leak may be on the return-line side of the system.

  • Skimmer leaks are the most common leak in the pool and are caused by a separation between the plastic skimmer and the concrete pool. This leak looks like a crack, gap or tear and is easily repaired by pool putty.

Check for leaks on the shell of the pool, inserts into the pool walls (e.g. lights), wall interfaces (e.g. tile line) and in the pump and filter equipment.

Man washing cooking tray in commercial kitchenIn the bathrooms

In the kitchen

  • Scrape plates clean instead of rinsing.
  • Make sure the dishwasher is full each time.
  • Check for water leaks in fittings, but also use the water meter where possible.
  • Fix leaking taps.
  • Install water-efficient devices where possible. 


  • Check any irrigation equipment regularly for leaks.
  • Ensure garden watering occurs only as necessary and gardens are suitably mulched to reduce water loss to evaporation.
  • Ensure water is used to wash down outdoor areas only where absolutely necessary. Sweeping or leaf blowing may be sufficient.
  • Ensure that the fire-hose reel is used only for fire-fighting and related fire-fighting training and testing of equipment. Penalties apply for inappropriate use.

If you suspect leaks or broken pipes...

Leaking water pipe

Leaks on private property

As the property owner, you are responsible for monitoring and controlling water usage on your property. For suspected leaks on private property, contact a licensed plumber.
Man calling on mobile phone to report a water leak on street

Leaks on public property

Unitywater is responsible for fixing leaks on public property, such as roads or burst water mains. If you notice a leak on public property, please let us know as soon as possible.

Fast facts: water usage

  • Water-efficient sprinkler uses 9 litres per minute
  • Hosing the driveway or hard surfaces uses 15 litres/minute
  • Pool without cover loses up to 200 litres per day
  • Single flush toilet – 12 litres per flush
  • Dual flush toilet - full flush – 6 litres
  • Dual flush toilet - half flush – 3 litres