Wai wise: Water saving tips for home

Wai wise header stating don't let the wai go dry this summer

Summer is a thirsty season when it comes to our water network. Maintaining green lawns is harder work in the dry weather, and people seek out water-based fun in the hot sun.  

We’re some of the biggest water consumers in the country and it can put our water network under strain. We should always treat water as a precious resource, but over summer it’s especially important to consider the ways we use water and so we are encouraging people to become wai wise at home. 

In the event we see extended periods of water being taken from the network faster than our reservoirs can replenish, we may need to introduce water restrictions to ensure we can provide sufficient water for public health and fire-fighting requirements.

But we've got lakes and rivers right on our doorstep. Why don't we just take more water from them if we're running low?

Supplying more water to households throughout the Queenstown Lakes for skyrocketing demand in the summer months would require a whole range of new infrastructure to be built, including pipes taking water from our lakes, new treatment facilities, reservoirs, and more pipes to take all that additional water to where it needs to go.

Instead, if we can all change our habits, we’ll reduce the chance of restrictions and help to ensure we have the same access to water in the future as we have today.   

Click here to find out more about why saving water is important.

Tips for maintaining your lawns wisely

Home lawns are usually the single largest user of water in the home. 

You can take steps to reduce their water demand at all times: 

  1. Lawn establishment  

  2. Irrigation  

  3. Lawn maintenance 

1. Lawn establishment

  • Try to keep lawn establishment to spring and autumn. This is the time of year when nature does all the hard work.  

  • Initially you will need to water more often and less volume. As your lawn establishes, the time between watering grows and the amount of water increases. 

  • Consider Fescues when selecting a variety of grass. They will be more drought resistant and better able to cope with peak temperatures we experience in the region, while still offering a fantastic surface to walk on. 

2. Irrigation

  • Irrigation tends to be a more efficient use of water than a hand hose. 

  • Give plants a chance to dry out between watering. 

  • Direct water to the root zone of the plant. 

  • If you see water running, that’s a sign that you are applying too much water!  

  • Water your lawn in the early hours of the morning or late evening to reduce water loss via evaporation. Set your automated watering system to irrigate at a time between 10.00pm and 6.00am. 

3. Lawn maintenance

  • Cut your lawn a little higher during the warmer months. This will reduce the demand for water and help it withstand higher temperatures. 

  • Cut more frequently and without a catcher. This allows the grass clippings to break down, allowing nutrients to be recycled as they return to the soil profile. 

  • Cut your lawns in the evening or avoid the hotter parts of the day as cutting the plant naturally causes heat stress. 

Want to win an electronic water timer for your sprinkler or irrigation system at home? Enter the competition.

Tips for saving water inside your home

1. In the bathroom

  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth to save around 12 litres of water per day 

  • Use a plug in your basin when shaving rather than running the water or shaving in the shower 

  • Cut your shower time and save up to 20 litres of water for every minute saved. 

  • Install a water efficient showerhead – Using less hot water also means you’ll save on energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

2. In the kitchen

  • Chill water in the fridge for drinking instead of running the tap until it cools on a hot summer’s day.  

  • Skip the pre-rinse if you have a modern dishwasher, just a scrape of your plates and cutlery before they go in the machine should do. 

  • Wash veges in a pot of water rather than running the tap – then you can use that water for pot plants or the garden. 

Get water leaks fixed

A dripping tap can waste over 1,000 litres (one cubic metre) of water each day (compared with your average 5kg washing machine using about 120 litres for a single wash). 

  • If it’s on your property, call a plumber to fix it. 

  • If it’s out on the street, report it to Council to fix it. 

It’s your responsibility if the leak is within the boundary that begins with your Toby (owned by Council). Taking action to fix a leak quickly is important – if the leak is big enough it may impact your water pressure and you’ll notice this in the shower and performance of your dishwasher, for example. There is also a risk that unattended leaks, left long enough, could create subsidence (sinking of the ground) and impact not just your property, but neighbouring ones too.