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4613.0 - Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends, Jan 2010  
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Contents >> Water >> Water conservation

This document was added 02/05/2010.



WATER CONSERVATION

SOURCES OF WATER FOR HOUSEHOLDS

Graph: Sources of water for households
Note: No data available for collection of grey water as a source of water in 1994 or 2001.
Source: ABS, 2007, Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, March 2007 (cat. no. 4602.0).


The majority of Australian households (93%) had access to mains water in March 2007. Other households relied on rainwater tanks, bores or wells or water from rivers, creeks and dams.

Some households supplemented their water supply by collecting water in containers or by using rainwater. Many Australian households also reported using grey water (54%) and bottled water (19%).

Household water use and conservation has been a widely discussed issue in recent years due to drought conditions and water restrictions in many parts of Australia.

In addition to mandatory water restrictions in many parts of Australia, many Australians have been voluntarily conserving water by adopting water saving practices and installing water saving devices, such as dual flush toilets.

In 2007, the majority of Australian households had some type of water conservation device installed in their home. In June 1994, only 39% of households had a dual flush toilet. In 2007, 81% of households had a dual flush toilet. The percentage of dwellings using water-efficient shower heads rose from 22% in 1994 to 55% in 2007.

HOUSEHOLDS WITH WATER CONSERVATION DEVICES


In 2007, 96% of dwellings less than one year old had only dual flush toilets (rather than “regular” toilets), and 74% had water-efficient shower heads in each shower. When the dwelling was more than 30 years old, these figures fell to 64% for dual flush toilets and 46% for water-efficient shower heads.

HOUSEHOLD USE OF GREY WATER, 2007
Graph: Household use of grey water, 2007
Note: NT and ACT data refers to the whole territory.
Source: ABS, 2007, Environmental Issues: People’s Views and Practices, March 2007 (cat. no. 4602.0).


Grey water is used water from the shower/bath, laundry or kitchen that households collect for re-use. In 2007, grey water was the second most common source of water for households, after mains/town water. More than half (54%) of Australian households reported grey water as a source.

Victoria had the highest percentage of households reporting grey water as a source (72%), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (63%). The Northern Territory had the lowest reported use of grey water, but this was still substantial at almost a third of households (32%). In Tasmania, just over a third (37%) of households reported using grey water.

Water restrictions since 2002 have affected households primarily by changing their use of water in the garden. In 2007, nearly a quarter (24%) of Australian households reported grey water as their primary source of water for the garden. More than four in ten households reported mains/town water (42%) as their primary source of water for the garden.

In Victoria and Queensland grey water was the most common main source of water for the garden (43% and 27% respectively). The Australian Capital Territory (21%) and New South Wales (19%) also reported high proportions of grey water use in the garden. The Northern Territory (4%) and Western Australia (5%) had the lowest proportion of households reporting grey water as their main source of water for the garden.
GREY WATER AS THE MAIN SOURCE OF WATER FOR THE GARDEN, 2007
Graph: Grey water as the main source of water for the garden, 2007
Note: Includes only households that have a garden. NT and ACT data refers to the whole territory.
Source: ABS, 2007, Environmental Issues: People’s Views and Practices, March 2007 (cat. no. 4602.0).


In March 2007, 83% of Australian households had their own garden. More than a quarter (26%) of households with a garden did not water or relied on rainfall only. In Brisbane, nearly half (48%) of households did not water or relied on rainfall only, compared to a third (33%) in the rest of Queensland.

HOUSEHOLDS WITH A RAINWATER TANK, 2007
Graph: Households with a rainwater tank, 2007
Note: NT and ACT data refers to the whole territory.
Source: ABS, 2007, Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices March 2007 (cat. no. 4602.0).


In 2007, 21% of all households reported that their dwelling had a rainwater tank.

South Australia had the highest proportion of dwellings with a rainwater tank (49% total). The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory had the lowest proportion of dwellings with a rainwater tank: 8% and 6% respectively.

In 2007, rainwater tanks were much more prevalent outside capital cities (35%) than within capital cities (12%). In capital cities, the most commonly reported reason for installing a tank was to save water. In the rest of the state, the most common reason was that the dwelling was not connected to mains water. Overall, 42% of households with a rainwater tank reported saving water as a reason for installing a tank, and 27% reported that their household was not connected to mains water.

More than 60% of households without a rainwater tank (but which had a dwelling suitable for a tank and which were home owners or purchasers) had considered installing one. Cost was the most common reason reported for not installing a rainwater tank (48%).

REASONS WHY HOUSEHOLD INSTALLED A RAINWATER TANK, 2007

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