ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication contains results from the Domestic Water Use Survey conducted in Western Australia (WA) in October 2003. It presents information on water-using appliances and the water-use behaviour of households in WA. The topics covered include sources of water supply, water heating, water-using appliances (e.g. washing machines, dishwashers, fixed airconditioners, toilets, showers and baths) and outdoor water use.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The survey was conducted as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Monthly Population Survey (MPS). Please refer to the Explanatory Notes at the back of this publication for further details about this survey.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Gabriela Lawrence on Perth (08) 9360 5947.
Summary of findings
SOURCES OF WATER SUPPLY
In October 2003, an estimated 728,900 households in WA (94% of all households) received their domestic water supply from mains or town water. In Perth, 2% of households were not connected to mains water, compared with 16% of households in the Balance of WA.
All of the statistics in this publication (excluding table 1) relate only to those households in WA that were connected to mains or town water.
There were an estimated 59,700 WA households connected to mains (8%) that indicated they used water from a rainwater tank in October 2003. A larger proportion of households in the Balance of WA used rainwater (21%) compared with Perth households (5%). Of those households that used water from a rainwater tank, the most common uses were drinking water (72%), watering the garden (46%) and food preparation (20%).
In October 2003, an estimated 153,600 households in WA that were connected to mains (21%) reported using bore water. Almost one-quarter (24%) of Perth households and approximately one-tenth (11%) of households in the Balance of WA used bore water. Of those households that used bore water, 80% accessed the water from a single household bore and the remainder accessed the water from a multiple household bore (where a bore on one property is used by households on adjoining properties).
USE OF RAINWATER TANKS AND BORE WATER(a), By area of usual residence
In October 2003, the majority (63%) of WA households connected to mains had a gas hot water system. Electricity was used for water heating by 19% of households and solar heating was used by 16% of households.
A higher proportion of Perth households had a gas hot water system (68%) than households in the Balance of WA (49%). In contrast, solar and electricity powered hot water systems were more common among households in the Balance of WA (21% and 28% respectively) than Perth households (15% and 17% respectively).
ENERGY SOURCE OF HOT WATER SYSTEM(a), By area of usual residence
WA households living in rented dwellings were more likely to have an electric hot water system (27%) than those living in dwellings that were fully owned (18%) or being purchased (16%). Solar hot water systems were most common in dwellings that were fully owned (22%). The use of gas hot water systems ranged from 59% to 69% of households across tenure types.
The majority (62%) of WA households had a storage/tank hot water system. Over one-third (36%) of households in WA had an instantaneous hot water system.
INDOOR WATER USE
An estimated 708,000 WA households connected to mains had a washing machine in October 2003 (97%), with the majority of these households (82%) having a top loading machine. Households in rented dwellings were most likely to have no washing machine (9%).
Of those households that had a washing machine, a higher proportion in Perth had a front loading machine (15%) than in the Balance of WA (7%). 'More water efficient' was the reason most frequently reported by WA households for choosing a front loading washing machine (66%), followed by 'better for clothes' (36%) and 'more energy efficient' (26%).
A small proportion (4%) of households in WA with a washing machine did not use it in the week prior to the survey. People living alone most commonly reported doing 1-2 loads of washing in the week prior to the survey (61%), whereas couple only households, lone parent households with children, and other households most commonly washed between 3-5 loads in the week prior to the survey (49%, 42% and 43% of these households respectively). Couple with children households most commonly washed between 3-8 loads in the week prior to the survey. Some 46,000 households reported doing 12 or more loads of washing in the week prior to the survey (6%).
In October 2003, over one-quarter (29%) of WA households connected to mains had a dishwasher, with Perth households being more likely to have a dishwasher (32%) than households in the Balance of WA (18%). Households living in fully owned dwellings or dwellings that were being purchased were more likely to have a dishwasher (33% and 38% respectively) than households in rented dwellings (10%).
Almost one-quarter (23%) of the 210,000 households that had a dishwasher did not use it in the week prior to the survey. Close to half (44%) of lone person households with a dishwasher reported not using it in the week prior to the survey, while 41% of couple with children households used their dishwasher six times or more.
There were an estimated 422,800 WA households connected to mains that had a fixed airconditioner in October 2003 (58%). Refrigerated airconditioners were the most common among households with a fixed system, with 56% having refrigerated fixed airconditioners compared with 41% that had evaporative fixed airconditioners. Among households with a fixed airconditioner, a similar proportion of Perth households and households in the Balance of WA had evaporative systems (42% and 40% respectively).
In October 2003, almost three-quarters (72%) of all WA households connected to mains had only dual flush toilets. Nearly one-third (32%) of households in rented dwellings did not have any dual flush toilets, compared with 24% of fully owned dwellings and 17% of dwellings being purchased.
There were an estimated 274,800 WA households connected to mains that had only water efficient shower heads in October 2003 (38%). Households living in dwellings that were fully owned (42%) or being purchased (39%) were more likely to have only water efficient shower heads than those living in rented dwellings (29%).
WATER-USING APPLIANCES(a), By area of usual residence
OUTDOOR WATER USE
In October 2003, an estimated 692,400 WA households connected to mains had gardens or lawns (95%). Various watering methods were used by households in maintaining their gardens or lawns, the most common being reticulation systems (73%) and hand-held hoses (73%). Sprinklers were also used by 22% of households. Watering with a reticulation system was more common among Perth households (75%) than households in the Balance of WA (64%). In contrast, households in the Balance of WA were more likely to use sprinklers for watering (41%) than Perth households (17%).
Of the 502,400 WA households that had a reticulation system, 92% used it to water gardens, over three-quarters (79%) used it to water lawns and nearly one-quarter (24%) used it to water pot plants or hanging baskets. Almost three-quarters (72%) of household reticulation systems in WA were automated.
WATERING METHODS(a), By area of usual residence
Water conservation in the garden
Over two-thirds (69%) of WA households connected to mains that had gardens or lawns used mulch in the 12 months prior to October 2003. A similar proportion of Perth households (69%) and households in the Balance of WA (70%) used mulch. Households living in a separate house were more likely to have used mulch (72%) than households in a semidetached, row or terrace house or townhouse (57%) or households in a flat, unit or apartment (45%).
Close to half (44%) of WA households with gardens or lawns reported re-using water from in and around the house for the purpose of watering the garden in the 12 months prior to October 2003. This includes a broad range of practices, such as using sophisticated recycled water systems, collecting water from running a shower, and pouring leftover water from water bottles and vases onto gardens/lawns.
A small proportion (3%) of households in WA reported not watering their gardens or lawns.
Swimming pools/outdoor spas
In October 2003, there were an estimated 126,600 households in WA connected to mains that had a swimming pool or outdoor spa (17%). Perth households were more likely to have a pool/outdoor spa (19%) than households in the Balance of WA (11%). Of those households that had a pool/outdoor spa, the majority (83%) had an in-ground pool and 11% had an outdoor spa. Just under one-third (30%) of WA households with a pool/outdoor spa had a pool/spa cover.