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Are you waterwise?

News story

Do you know that 45% of Perth’s water is now sourced from desalination? In part due to a marked decline in rainwater and increased average temperatures in the last few decades.

Perth skyline reflected in water droplet.

Water scarcity due to climate change and population growth means that we all have the responsibility to reduce our water use at the individual level. Living in one of the driest countries on Earth, most younger Australians have grown up with waterwise education in school and have lived with water restrictions. Whether you grew up in Australia or moved here to study – we all have to up our game further and learn to reduce our water use as we face a future with water scarcity challenges.

Ideas and tips for being more waterwise

  1. Clean clothes and dishes
  • Only use your washing machine when you have a full load.
  • Avoid washing clothes after just one use. Hang used but still clean clothes back on hangers to keep them fresher and save on washes.
  • Dishwashers save more water than washing by hand but like a washing machine wait till you have a full load.
  • Scrape food scraps into compostable bins rather than using water to rinse them.
  1. Water use planning – like meal planning but for water!
  • Running the tap to wait for the cold water to fill up a water bottle wastes heaps of water, make sure you plan ahead by always having a cold-water bottle in the fridge and use that first out the tap water to fill empty bottles that can chill overnight.
  • Defrost food in advance so you are not tempted to run frozen things under hot water.
  • Have a bowl you use for rinsing veggies and fruit and use the water for watering pot plants, or soaking tough dishes where the scrapping won’t be enough.
  1. Taps & toilets:
  • Do you know the recommended max length of a shower to prevent water waste is just 4 minutes? If you take a shower each morning to wake up rather than get clean. Or if your nightly shower is the only moment each day you take a moment for yourself to unwind. Then you are likely having extremely long showers every day. You can start to pay attention to your shower length and work on bringing the minutes down with a shower timer or play this waterwise playlist filled with four-minute songs.
  • Water leaks, dripping taps and noisy toilet cisterns can really waste large volumes of water over time. Let your landlord know so they can reduce wasted water for everyone and reduce your water costs.
  • Can you reduce your flush? If you have a half flush function on your toilet try to always use that to reduce water use. Some people may also be comfortable with the ”if it is yellow, let is mellow” line but if you have housemates make sure you agree on this.
  • Never keep the water running while you are not using the water such as: brushing your teeth, going to the fridge while filling up a bottle of water or while you are lathering up your hands with soap. COVID-19 may have been the start of some surgeon-like hand washing routines, but make sure you turn off the tap while you are lathering up.

For many more tips for a more waterwise life check out the resources on the Water corporations website. While the Waterwise Perth Action Plan has information about the situation facing Perth and the plan for transitioning Perth to a waterwise city by 2030.

We hope you liked these waterwise reminders. If you have your own tips that you would like to share, we’d love to hear from you!

This article is the third part of our Sustainability Month series, which highlights sustainability initiatives in and around campus in the lead-up to the Sustainability Challenge intensive taking place at the end of June. Check out  our other articles so far: