Drought is here in South East Queensland, and with our largest drinking water dam Wivenhoe close to its lowest level in 10 years, there’s no better time to join our water saving challenge!

Right now we need to be doing everything we can to save water, and our very own H2O hero Henry has some really easy tips to share about how his family saves water.

While we know many of you don’t like to waste water, being conscious of the water you do use and establishing some simple water saving habits will go a long way to helping save this precious resource, and you’ll be well prepared if water restrictions are needed.

By making a few simple changes to your everyday habits, the water savings can really add up.

Let's do this... How low can you go?

We've included some of our favourite challenge ideas, so before you get started, it's a good idea to write down your goals. You can set them individually, as a household or family. Putting a sticky note somewhere is always a great reminder. So remember, commitment is the key factor, take small steps until one day it is no longer an unusual activity but a habit. Be persistent, practice makes perfect. Let the water saving challenge begin! 

 
There are some areas in the home where water can simply go down the drain. Here’s a few easy challenge ideas that can make a huge difference towards your water saving efforts.
Bathroom

1. Take shorter showers – no longer than four minutes.

  • Challenge: Time your shower with a song, we’ve created our Bathroom Beats playlist just for this!
  • Challenge: Use dry shampoo, so you don’t have to wash your hair as often.
  • Challenge: Have you heard of a submarine shower? Initial 30 seconds to get wet, water off to soap and scrub, rinse off for a minute or less.

2. Don’t waste the cold water while you wait for it to heat up.

  • Challenge: Collect it with a bucket and use it to water plants.

3. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.

  • Challenge: Clean your teeth in the shower.

4. Place a plug in the tub before you turn on the tap.

  • Challenge: Bath the kids together.

5. Fill the sink to rinse your razor and face when shaving.

  • Challenge: Go one better and use a cup.

6. Use the half flush on the loo where you can.

  • Challenge: If it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow. 

7. Check for leaks in your toilet.

  • Challenge: Place a few drops of food dye into the cistern. After 15 minutes check the bowl, if you see the dye, you may have a leak.
Kitchen

1. Only do full loads in the dishwasher.

  • Challenge: Keep a bucket handy for rinsing off dishes throughout the day.
  • Challenge: Don’t have a dishwasher? Wash up in a half-full sink then add a little extra for rinsing.

2. Use one glass a day for drinking water.

  • Challenge: Try a reuseable water bottle.

3. Cook or boil foods in as little water as possible.

  • Challenge: Save time and nutrients and consider steaming.

4. Fill up a jug of water and pop it in the fridge.

  • Challenge: Stock up on a few glass bottles with stoppers so you can chill more than one. 

5. Thaw your foods in the fridge instead of using the cold-water method.

  • Challenge: Plan ahead on your meals as some larger items may take longer than overnight.

6. Use a bowl of water to rinse fruits and vegetables instead of under the tap.

  • Challenge: Repurpose the water on your lawn or plants.
Laundry

1. Only do full loads in the washing machine or match the water level to the load.

  • Challenge: Wear your clothes more than once. 
  • Challenge: Use the ECO setting on your machine if you have one.

2. Plug the sink or fill a bucket for hand-washing items.

  • Challenge: Do multiple items, use the sink for washing and a bucket for rinsing.
Did you know that outdoor water use is the primary focus of medium level water restrictions, so to help make it easy if restrictions are introduced, start saving water outside the home! Try these clever challenge ideas:
Gardens

1. Water in the morning or at night (before 8am and after 4pm) to avoid evaporation.

  • Challenge: Capture water from other parts of the house to use on plants. 
  • Challenge: Keep an eye on the weather, if there is rain on the way, hold off on watering. A bonus is to also capture the water in buckets which will give you a few more days of pure rain water to use.

2. Mow on the highest setting – taller grass retains moisture.

  • Challenge: To mow or not to mow – how low should you go?  

3. Water the lawn only when it needs it.

  • Challenge: Water early morning, for longer periods, less frequently. 
  • Challenge: Do the step test. If the grass springs back it doesn’t need watering.

4. Group plants with similar watering needs together.

  • Challenge: Consider a wicking bed, great for fresh produce and can reduce your water use by up to 50%

5. Place a saucer under pot plants to save any water from being lost.

  • Challenge: Bottom watering, have you heard of it? Place the plant in a tub or sink with a few inches of water. The drainage holes will absorb the water into the soil.

If you're looking for some garden inspiration, check out our water savvy garden we've created in partnership with Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee.

Outdoor areas

1. Use a broom rather than the hose to clean driveways, balconies and hard surfaces.

  • Challenge: Using a blower could save time and effort.

2. Check for leaking taps.

  • Challenge: Give your place a once over and check for leaks or any repairs that need to be done.
Pools

1. Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation.

  • Challenge: Cover when it's not in use, especially in summer, it can reduce evaporation by 90%

2. Keep the water level only halfway up to the skimmer opening.

  • Challenge: Enforce a 'no bombing' rule to keep all the water in the pool.
Vehicles

1. Wash your car, bikes and boats on the lawn, avoid the driveway where possible. 

  • Challenge: Use a high-pressure hose or bucket.
  • Challenge: Wash in the rain.
  • Challenge: Use a waterless car wash. 
While big savings can come from indoors and outdoor water saving habits. there’s always opportunities to be water savvy.  
Pets

Our furry, feathered or scaled friends are part of the family, which means they can also contribute to your water saving efforts. 

  • When cleaning fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
  • Wash your pets using a bucket of warm water, or on an area of the lawn that needs water. If you’re using a biodegradable, nontoxic soap you can repurpose the water on plants.
  • When changing water from pet bowls, give your plants a drink.
  • Give a shout out to groomers who have water saving measures in place.
Appliances
  • If you’re in the market for a new appliance of fixture, always buy with water saving in mind and look for the WELS tick of approval.

Whether you’re off on a road trip or staying in accommodation, you can still save water with these simple tips:
Caravan and camping
  • Use a range of spray bottles – one with a mix of liquid soap and water for washing grubby hands, one with dishwashing liquid and water and one with plain water to make a refreshing spray on those hot nights.
  • Wet cloths can be used to replace a full-on shower, and to clean surfaces.
  • Wash your furry friend in a bucket and not under a running hose.
Hotels, motels and AirBnB
  • Reuse towels and linens.
  • Use the shower instead of a bath (four minutes or less of course).
  • Don’t leave the tap running while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Report any leaks to management.
Christmas

It’s the season to be doing a lot of entertaining and holiday prep, and most of these things can involve more water than usual. So, ho, ho, ho, how low can you go?

Eating

  • If you’re washing up by hand, fill the sink and avoid running the tap when cleaning those pots, pans and dishes.
  • Most dishwashers will clean your plates just fine without rinsing. Don’t double down by rinsing, just put them straight in.
  • Make sure the dishwasher is fully loaded every time you run it. Use the water saving setting if the appliance has one.
  • Save water by thawing foods overnight in the fridge instead of running hot water over them.
  • Have some cool water on hand by filling up a jug with water and storing it in the fridge.

Cleaning

  • Only wash full loads every time and use the appropriate setting on your machine to the size of the load you’re washing.
  • Use brooms and vacuums to clean flooring. The same applies for pathways, concrete, tiles, driveways and decks. When you do decide to clean those outdoor surfaces, use a high-pressure cleaner instead of a regular hose.
  • Clean the bathroom while cleaning yourself! Collect the water in a bucket during a shower and reuse the water to clean the bathroom (and other areas of the home).

Shopping

  • Water efficient items can make great gifts. For stocking fillers think reusable water bottles, shower timers/speakers and waterless car wash products. Go on, get creative.
We’re preparing some resources for you to use at home, at work, on your own local Facebook pages, as a letterbox drop, or a poster at the local library. It’s just the start…
  • How low can you BINGO (coming soon)
  • Community poster (coming soon)
  • Social media images (coming soon)
  • Water restriction fridge reminder (coming soon)
 

Saving water doesn’t stop there. Learn more about switching over to water sustainable practices that can save you money.

So go on, challenge yourself, you might be surprised how simple it is to save water and money too! 

If you'd like to share your handy tips, let us know and we'll publish them here.

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Water restrictions are likely this summer

Water restrictions are part of our plan as dam levels continue to drop.

Find out more