Survey information from the Water Corporation shows that only 32 kilolitres of water is used during a typical construction process. But despite this relatively low water usage, much can be done to reduce water consumption in a new home.
The key to reduce poor water usage is to reduce water pressure. Triple A rated showerheads and taps and 6/3 dual flush toilets can conserve a significant amount of water in a new home. An inefficient showerhead, for example, uses 20 to 30 litres of water per minute while an efficient one provides a high quality shower using less than 9 litres of water per minute.
Over 40 per cent of residential scheme usage is in the outdoor areas of a new home. Sensible garden and lawn design can reduce water usage. Possible strategies include:
- Use of soil conditioners and improvers, rather than the standard “sand, dynamic lifter, lawn” solutions;
- Carefully planned lawn and garden bed emitters. Use course drop sprays to minimise over-spray and adjustable drippers to each plant; or
- Sensible use of natural and artificial windbreaks to reduce irrigation losses. Mounds, shrubs, trees, fences, walls and pergolas can be part of a planned landscape to minimise water wastage.
Other innovative solutions can be used inside and outside the home. Soak wells should be installed in free draining soils to accommodate drainage water. Roof run-off and direct surface run-off from paved areas can supplement watering.
Consider also the design and location of your water heater and pipework. Ideally a water heater should be located within 5 metres of the main bathroom and laundry. Smaller volumed sinks and tubs with pop-up waste outlets (which discourage running taps) are suggested. Taps can also have aerators to reduce airflow and splash while spring loaded controls prevent running taps.
Carefully choose your laundry appliances. Clothes washers should have sudsaver capability with a low detergent/low rinse option. Use of surplus “grey water” can also be channelled into garden areas.