Water efficiency

Water-efficient appliances and fixtures, combined with sensible water use, saves money and helps keep our reserves at sustainable levels.

The biggest water-users in the home are washing machines, showers, taps and toilets.

By using more water-efficient products Australians could save $2 billion by 2030, an average saving of $175 per household each year. The estimated savings are:

  • 65% from avoided water heating due to reduced electricity and gas costs.
  • 35% from reduced water bills.

Upgrade to water-efficient appliances and fixtures

The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme helps Australians compare the water efficiency of a range of appliances and fixtures.

WELS-regulated products include washing machines, dishwashers, showers, toilet suites, urinals, taps and flow controllers.

Products are tested for water consumption and given a rating of up to 6 stars. The rating label is displayed on the product.

The WELS registration database lists all regulated products with their star ratings and water consumption.

It is illegal to supply WELS-regulated products that are not registered and labelled, so check for the water rating label and registration of the product before you buy.

You may be eligible for rebates or other assistance when installing some water-efficient appliances or fixtures.

Showerheads

Flow rates for showers are on the water rating label in litres per minute (L/min).

Every 1L/min difference will save a family of 4 nearly 12 kilolitres (kL) of water and $35 each year (based on an 8-minute shower per person per day with water at $2.99 per kL).

For a family of 4, replacing a showerhead that flows at 15L/min with:

  • a 3-star shower at 9L/min will save 70kL and $210 each year on water bills
  • a 4-star shower at 6L/min will save 105kL and $315 each year on water bills

There will also be savings on energy bills because less water will need to be heated.

To provide a comfortable shower, all 4-star showerheads must now pass tests for spray force and coverage.

There are free showerhead exchange programs in some cities and regions around Australia. See our rebates sorter, your local council or water retailer.

Low-flow taps

Low-flow taps work by mixing air into the water-flow. This gives the feel and impression of full water-flow even though the water volume is greatly reduced.

Install low-flow taps or aerators to reduce tap-water use from a standard 15-18L/min down to as little as 2L/min.

Toilets

The water rating label shows how much water is used in an average flush.

Every litre less in a flush will save a family of 4 nearly 6kL and $17.50 each year in water supply charges (based on 4 flushes per person per day and water at $2.99/kL).

Replacing an old single-flush toilet (12L flush) with a 4-star toilet (3.5L flush) will save 50kL and $148 each year on water bills.

Use the WELS lavatory product search to compare the efficiency and flush volume of different toilets before buying.

Check that the pan and cistern are compatible to make sure the low-flush toilet operates effectively.

Using the half-flush button whenever possible will maximise water savings.    

Washing machines and dishwashers

The water rating label shows how much water is used per load, and what cycle was used for the tests.

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 this family 18kL and $54 each year.

For a dishwasher that holds 14 place settings, choosing a 6-star machine that uses 9.5L per wash instead of a 2-star machine using 19L per wash will save this family 3.5kL and $20 each year.

See our appliances page for more information about selecting efficient appliances.

Installation

All plumbing systems, including toilet suites and other products with WaterMark certification, need to be installed by a licensed plumber. See licensedtrades.com.au for plumbers in your area. Using products that are not certified may affect your insurance coverage for damage if the product fails.

Basic jobs like replacing a bathroom tap valve or a showerhead can be legally done by the householder. There are tutorials online to guide you. To ensure the product maintains its water efficiency, the flow-control device must not be removed.

More information

ACT Water saving tips Icon water

NSW Leak detection Sydney Water

NSW Households NSW Government

NT Save on water PowerWater

QLD Leaks on your property Queensland Urban Utilities

QLD Checking for water leaks Unitywater

SA Leak detection SA Water

SA How do I read my meter SA Water

TAS Blockages, leaks & water and sewerage flooding TasWater

TAS WaterSense TasWater

VIC Water authorities Victorian Government

WA Detecting leaks Water Corporation

Reducing water demand Your Home

Water efficiency Australian Government

Front loading washing machines Choice

Energy and water efficient washing machines Choice