We use around 10 per cent of our total household water in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, washing or drinking.
The good news is there are many ways you can save water in the kitchen.
- When boiling vegetables, use enough water to cover them and keep the lid on the saucepan. Your vegetables will boil quicker and it will save water, energy and preserve precious vitamins in your food.
At the sink
- Wash your fruit and veggies in a tub in the sink and then use the water on your plants afterwards.
- Before washing dishes, remove food scraps from your plates (scraping into the compost or a bin).
- Collect water from a running tap in a bottle or jug and store it in the fridge until it is cool enough to drink.
- Put suitable food scraps into a composter or worm farm rather than down the kitchen sink as a garbage disposal unit can use about six litres of water per day.
- Fit flow-controlled aerators to your taps – they are inexpensive and can reduce water flow by 50%.
- If you have a leaking tap, replace the washer or other components as required. Dripping taps can waste 30-200 litres of water per day.
- A running tap uses about 16 litres of water per minute and a dripping tap can waste up to 12,000 litres a year.
- Don’t over-tighten taps. It can wear the washer and cause leaks.
- Ensure all new taps are water-efficient by checking the WELS star rating.
- In basins and sinks, install separate hot and cold taps as mixer type taps are usually left in the middle position. This means that each time the tap is run for a glass of cold water or to rinse a toothbrush, hot water is drawn off and left to cool in the pipe without ever being used.
- Catch running water whilst waiting for your water to warm up – use it to water plants, rinse dishes, or wash fruit and vegetables.
Visit our help with leaks page to find out more.
Washing dishes by hand
- When washing dishes by hand, use washing-up liquid sparingly as it reduces the amount of rinsing required.
- Don’t rinse dishes under a running tap.
- If you have two sinks, fill the second one with rinsing water.
- If you have one sink, stack washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a pan of hot water.
- Use a plugged sink or a pan of water – this saves running the tap continuously.
- The dishwasher is the highest consumer of water in the kitchen.
- Only use the dishwasher when you have a full load.
- Install a water-efficient model and save not only water but money.
- Before purchasing a new dishwasher, check the appliance for a WELS (National Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme) label. The WELS scheme labels products for water efficiency – the more stars, the more water-efficient the product.
- Use the rinse-hold setting on the dishwasher, if it has one, rather than rinsing dishes under the tap.
Water from the fish tank
- When you clean your fish tank, use the ‘old’ nitrogen and phosphorus-rich water on your plants.
- Don’t use running water to defrost frozen food. Ideally, place food in the refrigerator to defrost overnight.
Evaporative air conditioners
- Evaporative air conditioners drain off some water while in use to reduce the build-up of impurities. Ensure that the drain-off rate is set to the minimum required for the air conditioner to work with your water supply. Make sure the air conditioner is turned off when you go on holidays.
Hot water system and pipes
- Insulate hot water pipes as it save water and energy.
- Make sure your hot water system thermostat is not set too high – adding cold water to cool very hot water wastes water.
- New hot water systems allow you to specify the temperature without adding cold water.
- Install a plumbing device that allows the cold water to be recirculated until it warms up.
Rebates for water-efficient products
Depending on where you live, you are likely to be eligible for rebates, subsidies or free offers on some water-efficient/water-saving products. Check with your council and water utility or visit energy.gov.au