Be Water Wise

Hands under falling clean water

If we all do our bit and save a little, it will make a big difference.

DIY home water audit

Find out where you're using the most water and where you could make savings.

1. Monitor your water usage

Learn how to read your water meter(PDF, 232KB) and monitor your water usage.

To find out your daily water use, write down your first meter reading. About the same time the next day write down the second meter reading. The difference between the two readings is your daily water use.

Do this each day for a week to pin point when your household is using the most water and find out where you can make savings.

2. Identify leaks

Finding and fixing visible leaks is usually simple:

  • To be confident your home doesn't have any hidden leaks check when no water is being used, such as when nobody will be home or late at night (make sure no one flushes the toilet overnight)
  • Write down your meter reading at night, before the last person goes to bed
  • Read the meter again in the morning before anyone starts using the water
  • If the number has increased and you have not used any water, you may have a leak.

3. Taps and showers

Check the flowrate(PDF, 44KB) of your taps and showers to see if you need to install aerators to reduce the water consumption. Aerators on taps and showerheads can still give a great experience while using, with less water.

Note: Stick to a quick shower instead of a bath. A bath can use well over 100 litres of water. A short shower can use less than 30 litres of water.

4. Appliances and toilets

Check out how much water your toilet uses, the size of the cistern tank can be a good indication if there are no labels visible. Single flush and even some dual flush systems use large amounts of water. You can dramatically reduce water use by installing water efficient dual flush systems.

Find out how your appliances compare to others using the WELS Water Rating and be sure to only use the washing machine and dishwasher when full.

5. Garden and outdoors

  • Reduce the amount of garden that requires regular watering
  • Plant local, drought tolerant species and group plants according to their water, sun and nutrient needs
  • Use a soil wetting agent, mulch and only provide enough water for the plants
  • Use tap timers and shut-off valves on your hoses
  • Recycle greywater from the laundry and bathroom to use in the garden using Health Department approved techniques or systems
  • Always ensure that your watering complies with the current water restrictions
  • Swimming pools and spas are big water users. Install a pool cover, to minimise water loss through evaporation
  • Wash your car less frequently and use a car wash – typically the water at a car wash is recycled. If you wash your car at home, always wash it on the lawn not the driveway or path, so chemicals do not go in the stormwater drain and harm the environment
  • Use a broom to clean driveways and footpaths and don’t sweep leaves, dirt or clippings into the gutter or stormwater drain.

6. Capturing water

Reduce the amount of mains water that you use by installing a rainwater tank and use the water you collect in the garden or have it plumbed into the house.


Where our water comes from

We hear a lot about the Woronora and Warragamba Dams, but did you know that these dams don’t supply water to the Campbelltown Local Government Area (LGA) or the Macarthur region?

Water for the Macarthur region is supplied by the Nepean, Avon, Cordeaux and Cataract Dams, through a number of weirs and water filtration plants that collect and treat the water. In fact, the Cataract and Cordeaux Dams supply most of the water for the Macarthur region, which are primarily fed by rainwater.

The combined maximum holding capacity of Nepean, Avon, Cordeaux and Cataract Dams is only 20 per cent of the maximum holding capacity of the Warragamba Dam.


Saving water at home

In Sydney, around 1500 megalitres of water is supplied to 1.7 million homes and businesses each day.

Households use around 70 per cent of this water, with the rest used by businesses and government.

How we use water at home

This is how we use water at home

  • Bathtub 6 per cent
  • Taps 13 per cent
  • Laundry 12 per cent
  • Shower 26 per cent
  • Toilet 20 per cent
  • Outdoors 23 per cent.

Try this simple experiment, to better understand how much water you use around the home:

  1. Hold an empty 1-litre milk carton under a running tap
  2. Time how long it takes to fill
  3. Compare this with the time the tap is running when you wash your hands, brush your teeth or have a shower
  4. Calculate how many litres of water you use while doing these activities. Keep this in mind next time you turn on the tap.

Saving water in the bathroom:

  • Taps - make sure they aren't left dripping, and never turn the tap on too far, turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, and install a water efficient tap or aerator
  • Toilets - use the half-flush
  • Sink - use the plug to rinse when shaving
  • Showers - install a water efficient shower head, and have quicker showers.

Saving water in the kitchen and laundry:

  • Sink - use a plug when washing food or dishes
  • Taps - install a water efficient tap or aerator
  • Dishwashers and washing machines - wait for a full load, and when it's time to replace, choose a more water efficient model.

Saving water in the garden:

  • Watering -  water in the morning or evening instead of the heat of the day, and aim for the roots not the leaves
  • Paths and driveways - use a broom to clean up leaves, grass clippings, dirt, dust or litter
  • Swimming pool - use a cover, to prevent water evaporation
  • Composter - turn left over fruits and veggies into nutrient rich, moisture holding soil
  • Lawns - leave grass cuttings on the lawn to act as natural mulch.

Ways to capture and reuse water

Water restrictions make us more aware of how we use water, and where we will miss using it. Capturing and using water that would have normally disappeared down the drain is a great way to stretch the water you use by capturing your grey water. 

Here are a few ways to make the most out of the water you use:

  • Capture the ‘warm-up water’, the water that runs while you wait for the tap to warm up, in a jug and place in the fridge for instant cold water later on
  • Use the water from steaming and boiling vegetables, pasta, eggs and other foods to water the garden, just make sure it is cooled off before you use it
  • Capture the nutrient rich water from cleaning aquariums and water the garden, this is a natural fertiliser
  • Wash fruits and veggies in a bowl or bucket to easily take the water out to the garden
  • Use a basin in the kitchen sink to capture and transport dish water. Soapy water is great for your lawns
  • If you use an environmentally friendly detergent, you can redirect the drain hose out to the lawn by connecting an additional hose. If you’re worried about the detergent chemicals, only use the rinse cycle as it has lower levels of chemicals
  • Discard unfinished cups of water and tea onto plants.


  • Water captured from laundry, dishwashing and sinks for reuse should be used within 24 hours to limit odours and nutrient breakdown
  • Due to the risk of contamination from pathogens and grease, water from dishwashers and toilets should not be captured for reuse. 

Water Wise Guidelines

Water Restrictions are now known as the Water Wise Guidelines 

Under the Water Wise Guidelines residents and businesses are not able to:

  • Allow water to run off onto hard surfaces
  • Leave taps and hoses running unattended
  • Allow pools or spas to overflow when being filled
  • Clean hard surfaces such as paths, driveways and paved areas with a hose as part of general cleaning 

To find out more, visit Sydney Water.