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Using less water

My latest water bill arrived, and I’m feeling pretty smug about it because without even trying, my water consumption has dropped by about 20% compared to a year ago.

Water consumption

A few years ago household use had been around 250 litres per day. A switch to a water-efficient showerhead in 2007 saw it drop by about 20% to 200 litres per day, or 110 litres per person per day (taking into account the normal 13 “person nights” in the house per week).

This latest bill shows household use has dropped again to 165 litres per day, or 89 litres per person per day, not too far over half the “Target 155” goal.

The only recent change I can think of is the new Bosch washing machine I got in November, replacing a 15 year-old Hoover. I don’t know how water-efficient the Hoover was, but it seems the Bosch (at 56 litres per wash, and with a larger capacity) beats it hands down.

I’m quite impressed.

(Update lunchtime: To be clear, the Hoover washing machine broke down, and had to be replaced.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “Using less water”

Well done for (i) bothering to monitor your water usagel (ii) taking active steps to lower water consumption.
I bet your water bill hasn’t gone down by 20% – probably gone up!

I love how the phrasing of “Target 155” implies to people who use less than 155 that they should aim to increase their water consumption.

Just like NSW, which in the 90s pressed hundreds of thousands of automotibile number plates that say “Towards 2000”, most of which are still in circulation. The state sure seems backwards-looking just now if you live here.

Spending $1200 on a new washing machine to save $10 per year in water isn’t actually good economics. It probably isn’t good ecology either when you figure how much water and oil was used in making it. Unless the old washing machine was actually worn out.

I hate that whenever the government congratulates us on saving water, what is our reward- bumping up water rates! The other thing that annoys me is that while we’re saving water, which is important to our water strategy, it is only a band-aid solution. The desal plant, as much as it is unpleasant and with its negative environmental impact, is now absolutely necessary.

What has become one of my major issues in the lead up to the state election is the complete lack of regard for doing anything for our water infrastructure! From his election in 1999, until just before his resignation in 2007, Steve Bracks had no policy for water- he refused to build any dams ( which demographers agree need to be built with a growing population). And don’t forget, it was Ted Baillieu’s policy of a desalination plant during the 2006 election, which Bracks campaigned against, then adopted!

This anti-dam madness has put a huge strain on our water supply- the last dam built for this city was the Thomson Dam a quarter of a century ago- 1984- and if the state government had had that mentality back then, we would not have the Thomson, and would be right royally fornicated!! And before you say that Kennett didn’t build one either- true, I wish he had! But it didn’t become a problem until well into Bracks’ tenure. It is inevitable in the near future that we will need a new dam, and I believe this will be one of the biggest concerns for this state! Dare I say Daniel that IMHO, it may trump PT as a concern- don’t hold it against me!!

Well done Daniel!
I would be interested to know if the amount of money you have been beilled has also dropped by about 20%? I find it frustrating that actual water usage is such a small portion of my water bill: i could use 0L/year, and my bill would not be much smaller.

We’re currently running at about 115-120l per person per day, but I suspect that’s as good as it’s gonna get with three very young children (I assert that you do more washing of both clothes and bodies with little kids, especially in the winter months or when everyone is sick).

Here in Japan, the locals are not really a water-conscious, and water gets wasted here at an amazing rate.
Since moving to the countryside I’ve become more aware of water costs and what I can do to reduce my usage. Living alone makes my consumption easier to monitor, and also to make whole-home adjustments. Some decisions might not be palatable to all (why flush each and every time? I know, – YUCK for some, but come on!), I also keep a bucket in my bathroom and fill it with the water that’s not quite warm enough to shower with. That water is put to good use as well, rather than just going down the drain.
In addition, I use my bath water for clothes washing and flushing the toilet. Note that in Japan, baths are places to *soak* after washing, and not to wash so the water is good for the first wash.
I also only run a bath once a week. A boon here is that many modern Japanese bathtubs have reheating systems – the water in the tub is drawn into the heating system and reheated. I’ve been told that this process is more expensive in terms of gas consumption than simply running a new, not bath, but I haven’t had any definite proof of that.
My local area – due to very heavy snow – suspends water meter readings over the winter period, so for those months I’ve been charged at a flat rate (based on previous usage) for most of winter. I’ll be curious to see if they reimburse me for a more conscious use of water. I’ll check with my next bill.

Two observations:
1) In Brunei (the rich oil country) they use water by the tonne (along with petrol at 30c/l and energy in general).

2) Water is still quite cheap here (Melbourne – roughly $2.20/kl inc sewer). In Auckland, NZ, they charge about $4.00/kl. And usually they have plenty. There’s a band of people who say that water here is priced too cheaply.

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