Conserving water is vital for the sustainability of Western Downs Regional Council water supplies.

Find out about how to adhere to current water restrictions, applying for a rebate for dual flush toilet or water efficient shower rose, and applying for an exemption from water restrictions.

Saving Water

Australians are among the world’s highest domestic consumers of water even though we live on one of the driest continents on earth. Without changing our lifestyle we can reduce water use by 20%, conserve a resource essential to all life and save money, energy and the environment. 

How can you reduce the amount of water you consume, and save money?

Know how much water you use in ordinary daily activities

Flushing the toilet (single flush)

12 litres

Taking a bath

50 – 150 litres


40 – 250 litres


20 – 50 litres

Washing Machine

40 – 250 litres

Cleaning teeth (with tap running)

5 litres

Cleaning teeth (without tap running)

1 litre


8 litres

Drinking, cooking, cleaning

8 litres

Sprinkler (per hour)

1,000 litres

Drip system (per drip per day)

4 litres

Washing car (with running hose)

100 – 300 litres

Hosing driveway

50 – 100 litres

Dripping tap (per day)

30 – 150 litres

Estimate your Daily Usage

Using the information below, you can quickly get an idea of how much water your household uses every week. 







5 in household

3 uses each

15 uses

105 uses

single flush toilet

12L x 5 = 60L

60 x 3 = 180L

180 x 7 = 1,260L



5 in household

1 use each

5 uses

35 uses


145L x 5 = 725

725 x 1 = 725L

725 x 7 = 5,075L


use x amount = daily usage x 7 days = weekly usage 

Saving Water Inside 

WaterWise in the Kitchen 


  • Wash by hand – washing dishes by hand saves more than 2/3 of the water used in one dishwashing cycle.
  • Plug the sink when washing dishes by hand, don’t wash under running taps.
  • Directly after cooking, soak pots and pans instead of running taps while you scrub them clean. As well as saving you money, this should also save you time.

Automatic dishwashers

  • Always ensure you have a full load before turning on the dishwasher. You will pay to use approximately 50 litres of water per load, regardless of whether it is half or completely full.
  • Refrain from rinsing dishes under the tap before loading your dishwasher. Use the “rinse and hold” setting on your machine instead. 


  • Cook food in as little water as possible. 
  • Apart from saving you water (money) and time, cooking this way also retains more of the nutrients in food, so it should taste better and be better for you. 


  • Plug the sink when rinsing or peeling fruits/vegetables. 
  • Partially fill the sink, instead of running the taps the whole time. Reuse this collected water on house plants or outdoor potted plants, and save yourself some money.

  • Keep a container/s near the sink to catch any water run through your taps while waiting for the right temperature water, and use this collected water on plants around the house.

  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge, so you can have cold water whenever you want it and don’t have to watch your money go down the drain while you run taps waiting for the water to cool. 

  • Buy or designate one special cup for each member of the household to drink water from each day. This will cut down on the water you use in the kitchen as it should reduce the number of times you wash and the quantities you have to wash, also saving you time. 

  • Dispose of oil, etc. by putting it in a sealed container and throwing it away with the garbage, instead of running taps to wash it down the drain. Not only does this save wasting water and money, it’s also much better for the health of our rivers. 

WaterWise in the Bathroom


  • Don’t overfill your bath – save water (and money) by only filling up as much as necessary.
  • Share your bath water.
  • Bathe your younger children together. 
  • Older children/adults can take turns in the bath, where a little extra hot water is still less than a shower or a new bath for each person. 


  • Install 3 star WELS rated shower heads. By replacing the old ‘Universal’ shower heads in your bathroom with the more efficient water saving shower roses, you can save up to 50% of the water (and money) consumed in your shower, without an adverse affect on shower quality. 

  • Water-saving shower roses cost between $10 – $70 and are available from most plumbing supplies and hardware stores. Being such a low cost investment, they will pay for themselves in less than one year. Every year after that, you save money! 

  • Try to limit your time in the shower to what is necessary to soap up, scrub down and rinse off. This will not only save you money in water supply costs, but also in water heating costs! 

  • If you want a long soak, have a bath 



  • Install a dual flush 6/3 litre or 4/3.5 litre toilet suite. This is an easy way to save water (and money). Without changing your flush frequency, you can reduce the amount of water used in your toilet by up to 70%. 

  • If you can’t retrofit a new toilet system in your bathroom, try filling a couple of plastic one litre fruit or soft drink bottles with water (or sand), close the lid and then carefully place them in the cistern compartment, but be careful not to place them where they might interfere with the working parts of the cistern. 

  • Only flush as much as you need to, so dispose of wrappers and tissues in the bin. 


  • Check for leaks! This is a very common problem and can waste thousands of litres of water every year. It also wastes your dollars! 

  • To check for leaks, put some food colouring in the cistern and, without flushing, watch to see if the colour appears in the bowl after about 15 minutes. If it does, you need to have the cistern repaired ASAP, to save yourself water and money. 

  • Maybe you could think about updating to a 4.5/3 litre dual flush system instead of repairing your old leaking system? 

WaterWise in the Laundry

Washing machines

  • Washing machines are the biggest users of water in the home, some up to 245 L of water per wash.
    • Always ensure that you have a full load of washing before turning on your machine.
    • If you have to do a small load, always double check that you have set your machine to the water level appropriate for that load. 
  • If you are looking to purchase a new washing machine, choose a front loading model. 
    • Front loading washing machines only use 64-80 litres of water per wash. 
    • Using less water, they also use about 50% less detergent (more money saved for you, and better for our environment) and less energy (many come with 5 star energy ratings, which means even more savings for you!). 

More WaterWise Tips

Taps and Fittings

Regularly check and fix leaking taps and fixtures, both indoors and outdoors (including pipes and hoses). This is a simple and inexpensive method (washers cost approximately 80 cents), and can save you wasting up to 530 litres of water per week (and the money that you are charged for this wasted water). 

  • Encourage everyone in the family (especially children) to turn taps off all the way.   A continual drip from a tap can waste anywhere from 30 – 200 litres of water per day. Wasted water which you pay for. 
  • Install aerating taps. These are inexpensive and can reduce water flow by 50%, without impacting on the quality of the flow. This means that you can use your taps in exactly the same way, but be saving 50% of what you used to pay whenever you turned your taps on. 
  • Insulate pipes. By insulating your hot water pipes, you can avoid wasting water while you run taps waiting for the hot water to flow through. This will also save you money on your power bill. 
  • Master valve. Make sure you know where your master shut-off valve is located. If a pipe bursts, this could save you thousands of litres of water and damage to your home. 
  • Leak test. To test for hidden leaks:
    1. Note the reading on your water meter one night before going to bed, ensuring that all water inside and outside is shut off.
    2. Before any water is used the next morning, note the water meter reading again.
    3. If the two readings are not the same, then you need to find the hidden leak ASAP to reduce the amount of water (and money) being wasted. 

Evaporative Air Conditions

Evaporative airconditioners consume water in two ways; the evaporation of water from the pads which cools the air, and the dumping/bleeding-off of water to reduce the mineral concentration in the sump. 

Evaporative airconditioners can use upwards of 75L/hr in the summer months and can account for up to 30% of the total yearly water consumption per household. 

Saving Water Outside 

Waterwise Plant Selector 

The Queenland Government’s Waterwise Plant Selector is an online database of over 4,000 native and non-native plants suited to Queensland’s climate zones. It provides a comprehensive reference tool for finding water efficient plants which will grow in their region. Search for plants by postcode, or choose from one of seven (7) climate zones. Searches can be refined by choosing various plant attributes such as water needs, plant type, flower colour and more.  

Water Efficiency Outdoors 


  • Plant drought-resistant native trees and shrubs. These species are both attractive and effective in helping to cut your water costs. 

  • Put mulch over the top of your garden beds. 

  • Mulches can prevent up to 73% moisture loss through evaporation! 

  • A 50mm mulch layer can save hundreds of litres of water per year. 

  • Mulches also prevent excessive runoff, restrict weed growth, and help put valuable nutrients back into your soil. 


  • Install water-efficient drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs and flowers. This type of watering gets the moisture to the roots of the plant where it is needed and used. 

  • Wait until the soil dries out before watering to toughen up your plants and make them hardier in dry conditions. 

  • Move your pot plants outside when it rains for a good, free soak. 

  • Water during the early morning (5-8am) or late afternoon (5-8pm) when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is reduced. Check the current water restrictions for watering times. 

  • Don’t water on windy days. Water can be blown onto footpaths and driveways, which wastes your time, water and money. 


  • There is no need to water lawns, and some gardens, for at least a week after rain. 

  • Fertilisers increase water consumption. Apply the absolute minimum amount of fertiliser needed, to keep watering down. 

  • Remember to keep your lawn and garden weeded. Weeds compete with your plants for water, as well as nutrients and light. 

  • Collect and use rainwater for watering your lawns and gardens. This water is “free”, and by using it just as wisely as the water you pay for – the savings in your pocket will really start to add up! 

  • If you have an automated sprinkler system, teach your whole family how to shut off your watering system so anyone who is home can turn off the sprinklers when rain is coming. 

  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and ensure that only your lawn is being watered, and not the house, footpath or street. 

  • If you have an evaporative air conditioner, direct the water to drain onto a garden, tree or your lawn. In summer, this could save you a lot of watering time (and money). 

  • Reduce your area of lawn. Avoid having turfed areas which are hard to water and mow. Fill these areas with porous materials, such as colourful gravel, or with water conservative shrubs and ground covers. 

  • Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart, so water can reach the roots, instead of running off the surface. 

  • Test to see when you need to water: 

  • Use an old screwdriver as a probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, you don’t need to water. 

  • Simply walk across your lawn. If you leave footprints or the lawn stays flat – then it’s time to water. 

  • Allow for seasonality in your watering schedule. Winter lawns require less watering than summer lawns. 

  • If your grass is brown, this doesn’t mean it’s dead, it’s just dormant. 

  • Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks. When the rain begins, your grass will quickly turn green again, and you will have saved money by watering your dormant grass correctly. 

  • Give your lawn more water, but less often. 

  • Use a timer on your sprinkler. A forgotten sprinkler wastes more than 1000 litres per hour, all of which you pay for. If you don’t have a hose timer, set a kitchen timer. 

  • Water small areas of grass by hand, to avoid waste. 

  • Wash your cars and pets on the lawn. This waters the lawn at the same time. 

  • Mow your grass as infrequently as possible. Mowing puts your lawn under additional stress, causing it to require more watering. 

  • Adjust your lawnmower to a higher setting. 

  • Longer grass will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation. 

Cleaning Outside

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and footpath and save up to 300 litres of water every time. 

  • Cleaning a path with a broom is quicker than with a hose, so the broom method also saves you time. 

Washing Cars

  • When washing your car, only use the hose for rinsing. 

  • Use a bucket and sponge to wash the car in between rinsing. 

  • Attaching a trigger nozzle to your hose can make the process of turning the hose on and off easier and can save you more than 350 litres of water per car wash. 

Watering Plants

  • The trigger nozzle also comes in handy when moving the hose around the garden to hand water, but remember to turn the hose off at the tap when finished! 

  • Choosing the right plants can save water and time caring for them. There are a range of native and exotic plants available that thrive in dry conditions. 

  • Plants can be grouped together according to their water needs. 

  • It is recommended you speak with your local nursery for advice on WaterWise plants which thrive in your area. 

  • Don’t forget to give shrubs a spring pruning as this reduces the leaf area and the plants water usage requirements. 


Non-Residential Water Usage 

Water Conservation Management Plan (WCMP) 

Western Downs Regional Council is committed to water conservation, and as such is asking all non-residential water users to conserve their water usage to help sustain supplies. 

It is requested that all businesses and community organisations (CO’s) improve water efficiency and conserve water consumption without jeopardising economic production and employment. 

If available, please make use of alternative water sources and recycle water if viable. 

To assist businesses and CO’s with monitoring water usage patterns, identifying possible water savings and implementing water saving actions Council has developed a Water Conservation Plan. 

A Water Conservation Plan is designed to ensure Non-Residential Users are already following industry best practice in water efficiency or alternatively demonstrate how the business is planning on becoming more water efficient. 

Under Council’s Drought Management Plan, particular users are required to submit a Water Conservation Plan to continue using town water supplies during times of restrictions. 

Through the use of the Water Conservation Management Plan, Council and your business can help reduce the demand placed on water supplies and encourage water efficient best practises for your business; therefore offering a fiscal benefit to your business. Thank you for taking the time to complete your plan. 

Once completed, please send to Council via: 

Email to info@wdrc.qld.gov.au; or 

Mail to: 

Western Downs Regional Council 
PO Box 551 
Dalby Q 4405 

 Water Conservation Management Plan(PDF, 849KB)  

If you require any assistance in completing this plan, please contact Council on 1300 COUNCIL (1300 268 624).