Do we need to be careful with our water use in Tasmania? Although it feels at times, like we have plentiful supplies, the answer is a definite YES. There are several reasons why.
Firstly, the water we use is treated with chemicals then pumped through a network of pipes, dams and reservoirs to get to our homes. By reducing our consumption of reticulated water, we can reduce the amount of these chemicals entering the environment and the energy required to move water vast distances through the system.
Secondly, our reliance on water from streams and rivers puts pressure on aquatic species, including freshwater crayfish and Galaxiids. Even the mighty Derwent River feels the effects of our water consumption. In summer around 120 megalitres per day are taken from the Derwent, that's nearly 50 Olympic pools, every day. We need water to survive, but treating and pumping such large amounts is unnecessarily wasteful.
Thirdly, we all pay for water and can reduce our bills by reducing our consumption. On average, households in Tasmania pay $240 in non-fixed water charges each year (based on water usage at 95c per 1000L).
Households vary considerably in the way they use water but on average, Tasmanian households use 250,000 litres of reticulated water. Over a third of this is used on the garden, 25% in the bathroom, 15% in the toilet, 20% in the laundry and 10% in the kitchen. There are many ways we can reduce our reliance on treated reticulated water.
In the garden
Reuse waste water from the kitchen (sinks and dishwashers), laundry (washing machines, troughs) or bathroom (showers, baths and hand basins) to water your lawns and garden. Council approval is required for permanent grey water systems.
In the bathroom
Install an efficient shower head that uses 9 litres (or less) of water per minute, compared with a typical shower that uses up to 17 litres of water per minute.
In the toilet
Choose a low-flush toilet or install a Flush Miser in your existing toilet. The flush-miser is simple Aussie invention that allows you to choose how much water you use with each flush, and you can install it yourself in less than a minute.
In the laundry
Use rain water to supply your washing machine by hooking up your plumbing to your water tank.
In the kitchen
Fitting flow-restricting aerators to your taps or hot water recirculation systems will also help to reduce water use.