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Install a flow controlled aerator on your taps, they are inexpensive and can reduce water flow by 50%.
If possible, always use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand and ensure that your dishwasher is full before you run it. 4-star models use around 1 litre of water or less per place setting washed.
Save water by avoiding rinsing the plates under the tap before placing them in the dishwasher or by using a dishwasher pre-rinse program.
A running kitchen tap can use around nine litres of water a minute. Instead of running water to wash vegetables or rinse dishes, put a plug in the sink or use a bowl.
Garbage disposal units use about 6 litres of water per day. Put suitable scraps into a composter rather than down the sink.
Choose a proper sized pot for cooking – larger pots require more water which may be unnecessary.
Use a reusable water bottle made from glass or BPA-free plastic. Not only will you be able to keep track of how much you are drinking, but it will also help reduce half drunk glasses of water. Plus, you'll save on washing glasses.
Rethink your cooking methods: Try use alternative cooking methods (instead of boiling or steaming) such as roasting or stir-frying.
Don’t fill the kettle - only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need. Overfilling the kettle not only wastes water, but also electricity.
Repurpose your ice - If you drop some ice on the floor, don’t throw it into the sink. Give it to your house plants, put it into your grey water container, or pop it in your pet's water bowl.
If you are waiting for hot water to come through, catch the water and use it to water plants, rinse dishes or wash fruit and vegetables.
Keeping your garden looking good through water restrictions and droughts can be a challenge. Here are our top tips to help you keep your garden growing.
Avoid the hottest time of the day: water in the morning when evaporation is low - helps hydrate, penetrate and prepare plants for the heat of the day.
Group thirsty plants: when designing your garden, place thirsty plants near one another to create smaller areas to watch and water more, rather than watering the entire garden.
Water the roots, not the leaves: don't let your precious water blow away in the wind or evaporate. Water slowly, so it soaks in rather than running off.
Use your grey water: instead of letting the cool water from your shower run down the drain while you wait for it to get hot, try placing a bucket underneath the water to catch it. You will be amazed at how quickly it will full.
Does your garden need to be watered? A moisture reader is a great tool to check if you garden really needs that water and can make a big different in sustainable water management.
Up-turned drink bottle: remove the bottom of a 1.5 litre plastic drink bottle and bury the bottle so the neck is positioned well below ground level and angled so the neck sits below the root mass. Pour water into the upturned bottle. This deep watering encourages roots to go deeper to the water source.
Shallow depression around a plant: heap up the soil around the plant to create a shallow saucer-like depression around the plant. Water poured into the depression will soak downwards to the plant’s roots rather than across bare ground.
Put pots in a bath: allowing pots to soak up from the bottom. Add in liquid feed to provide added nutrient and leave for an hour. Your plant will take what they need.
Use a soaker hose: this style of watering is especially ideal for summer vegetables. A soaker hose can also be laid in established gardens and used to water plants deeply once a week to keep plants alive during a drought.
Irrigation systems and timers: An irrigation system fitted with a watering timer is the ideal solution to watering your garden efficiently. The timer is attached to a tap to allow the gardener to control the amount of water and the timing. Ideally, they are set to water at night or in the early hours of the morning. This allows the water to soak into the soil before the sun’s rays hit the soil. Different types of timers are available, which can be set for specific periods.
Try a moisture retention product: Water Storage Crystals are great for slowly releasing water around plants, use these in pots and planters. Saturaid is great for moisture retention and less water runoff, ideal for garden beds, pots and planters and lawns and is also eco-friendly.
Plan to your climate: choosing plants that suit your soil and climate is a first line of defence for creating a waterwise garden. If you are prone to droughts or dry spells, then more drought tolerant plants and flowers will ensure you are not so exposed to water restrictions.
Plant trees and shrubs: young planted trees require much less watering compared to lawns and provide so much more advantages. Trees, especially drought tolerant trees, send out deep-water seeking root systems into the soil to tap into local groundwater and draw it to the surface. Trees also provide shade and release cool surrounding air.
Cover your soil: in the heat of summer, one square metre of bare soil can lose around two litres of water to the air. The best way to avoid this is to cover your soil by apply a thick layer of mulch or bark around your plants.
Throw up some shade: For established gardens, a shade cloth can often provide enough shade to keep your plants happy in severe heat – and it’s easily removed when entertaining or when the weather turns cooler. Suspend it over plants to help them keep their cool.
Pull weeds and deadhead your flowers: getting rid of weeds means there’s more moisture in the soil for your plants. This same applies to deadheading your flowers and vegetables before they have a chance to set seed saving energy for your plants: They don't need to put extra energy (which they need water for) into producing seeds.
Don’t cut your lawn too short and avoid heavy pruning: Did you know that by allowing your grass to be cut a little higher, can help with soil beneath and helps keep it moist and avoid heavy pruning of trees and shrubs. Like fertilizing, pruning stimulates new growth (which needs water).
Check your soil condition: for many drought tolerant plants drainage is critical, which can rule them out on soils that are dry in summer but wet and boggy in winter. If this sounds like your soil then check out our guide on how to improve your soil.
Drought tolerant plants
New Zealand natives, grasses, shrubs, groundcovers, sub-tropical plants, succulents and cactus are more suited to hot, dry conditions and, once established, will require little water and maintenance.
Rainwater is a free and renewing resource, giving you the freedom to use water as you wish, without restriction. Installing a rainwater tank is relatively simple and inexpensive, and the benefits are ongoing. Even if you're connected to the mains water supply, you may want to consider using rainwater for your garden or for other household uses.