Brad And Jono, Armidale Regional Council

Small changes for a big difference

Content provided by the Sustainability Officer at Armidale Regional Council

If you’re a local, a guest or a newbie to Armidale, you may have become aware of the pink and orange water restriction posters around town, or perhaps the overhead supermarket conversations encouraging people to use a shower timer or stretching out days between hair washing…

Like many places in NSW at the moment, people are talking about and living with the drought; in 2019 the Armidale region experienced its lowest rainfall year on record. The resulting Level 5 Water Restrictions have been a new experience for many of us, but our regional community is making a heartfelt effort in reducing our water consumption. Residents have reduced water use from an average of 222 litres per person per day to less than 160 litres per person per day, and many businesses and organisations have made significant savings.

You may also have noticed that instead of communicating a percentage dam level, Armidale Regional Council has chosen to use Number of Days until empty instead. This has assisted us to communicate the urgency and seriousness of the water conservation message. The good news is, that number can, and has, gone up. We have now stretched day zero to December 2020 (with no substantial rainfall). Since water restrictions commenced in 2019 we have saved a total of 209 days on our average usage from 2018.

We have discovered that small changes we make as individuals really do make a big difference. We urge you to get inspired by our community’s continued efforts, and join with us to prolong day zero.

For tips on doing this check our previous blog “Every drop counts” or visit the Council’s website. Brad and Jono’s water-saving videos provide practical water-saving ideas in a light-hearted way and may inspire you on how you can conserve in your household and reach the 160L target.

Shower Math

Reducing showers, or time in the shower is one of the most effective ways to save water. Halving shower length from 6 minutes to 3 minutes can save 6.5 buckets of water per shower if you have a showerhead that uses 20 litres of water per minute. The simple act of changing your showerhead to a more water-efficient one can save another 3.5 buckets per shower. Four people in a household all following this routine can save 40 buckets of water, or about 360 litres of water every day.

More than a bucketful

A running tap can use 10 litres of water a minute – fill up a jug and keep it in the fridge instead of running the tap until the water feels cold. 

Shower with running water closeup

Animals may be extra thirsty

You may capture enough water for your pets by holding a bucket under the shower while the water heats up. Wildlife is suffering too, so this clean water can also fill birdbaths or water bowls for other animals in your gardens especially when the weather is warmer!

Use the dirty water to give your (non-edible) plants a drink.

Cat Drinking From Bowl

Don’t let the water go down the drain

Checking for leaks regularly is a good habit. Simply check that taps are not dripping, and toilets are not leaking. A silent leak in the toilet can waste 120-2000 litres per day – that is 13-222 bucketfuls. Even a tap dripping 6 times a minute can waste 1.5 buckets of water a day.

A litre saved today is another litre for tomorrow!

sink water drain

For more practical information on other ways to save water, you can visit these websites:

If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of drought, there is help available.

Reach out to Beyond BlueLifeline or Advocacy & Welfare.