1 January, 2020 15:46
WELS rating label

With the dam levels continuing to fall, Urban Utilities is urging people to beware of the big water guzzlers lurking around your home.

Dishwashers, washing machines and toilets, especially older models, can be adding to your water bill without you knowing it.

Urban Utilities spokesperson, Michelle Cull, said it was a timely reminder for people looking to replace their fittings and appliances.

“Water efficient fittings such as taps and shower heads can be bought quite cheaply and the water savings can really add up,” she said.

“When it comes time to replace big ticket items like your washing machine or dishwasher, it’s important to look for models that are water efficient.

“Our tip is to choose appliances with the highest WELS ratings; the more stars, the more efficiently it uses water and the more you can save.”

Washing machines:

  • Choosing a 6kg load capacity washing machine with a 6-star rating that uses 30L per load instead of a 3-star machine using 80L per load will save a family 18kL and almost $70 each year (based on one load of washing per day).
  • Over 10 years, that’s a saving of $700 or the cost of a new machine.


  • Choosing a 6-star machine that uses 9.5L per wash instead of a 2-star machine using 19L per wash will save a family 3.5kL and almost $15 each year (based on one load of dishes per day).

Shower heads: 

  • Every 1L/min difference will save a typical family of four over 13,000 litres (13kL) of water and $50 each year.
  • For a family of four, replacing a showerhead that flows at 15L/min with a new 3-star showerhead that flows at 9L/min will save 35kL and around $135 each year (based on a four minute shower per person per day). 
  • Replacing an old inefficient tap with a flow rate of 15L/min with a new 6-star tap that flows at 4L/min will save 20kL and around $75 each year (based on a total household tap use of five minutes per day, for tasks including handwashing, tooth brushing, rinsing dishes, rinsing fruit or vegetables).


  • Replacing an old single-flush toilet with a flush volume of 12L with a new 4-star dual flush toilet with an average flush volume of 3.5L, will save 50kL and around $190 each year (based on a family of four flushing four times each per day).

Ms Cull said there were plenty of other ways people could save water around their home and garden.

“Inside, take shorter showers, run the dishwasher and washing machine only when there’s a full load and turn off the tap while brushing your teeth,” she said.

“Outside, water your garden before 8am and after 4pm to reduce evaporation, mulch to retain moisture and wash your car on the grass instead of the driveway.”

For a full list of water saving tips, visit https://urbanutilities.com.au/waterefficiency

Note to Editor:
The above figures were taken from the WELS labelling scheme website and are based on current Urban Utilities prices for Brisbane residents.

About Queensland Urban Utilities
Established on July 1, 2010, Queensland Urban Utilities is one of the largest water distributor-retailers in Australia, providing water and sewerage services to more than 1.4 million residents across Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset local authority areas. We are upgrading and improving the reliability of our infrastructure by investing $2.76 billion in a 10-year capital works program. Our service territory covers 14,384 square kilometres and we employ around 1,100 people.