4616.1 - Domestic Water Use, New South Wales, Oct 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/04/2003   
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In October 2002, an estimated 2,365,700 or 95% of households in New South Wales were connected to a mains water supply. In Sydney, 98% of all households were connected to mains water, compared with 89% of households in the rest of NSW. Households which were connected to mains water were surveyed for their use of water using appliances, and the results for these households are presented below.

There were 155,100 households with an alternative source of water in addition to the mains water supply, representing 7% of all households connected to mains water. This varied by region, with 2% of households in Sydney having an alternative source of water, compared with 15% of households in the rest of New South Wales.

The most common alternative sources of water were rainwater tanks (4%), and ground bores or spear points (1%). Compared with the results of the previous domestic water use survey (see Domestic Water Use NSW, July 1987 (cat. no. 8719.1)), there has been no significant change in the percentage of mains connected households with alternative water sources.


Of the households in New South Wales connected to mains water, 2,258,000 (95%) were connected to the sewerage system (up from 92% in 1987) and 103,100 (4%) had a septic tank. In Sydney, 97% of households were connected to the sewer, in contrast to 93% of households in the rest of New South Wales.


An estimated 2,256,100 or 95% of households connected to mains water had a washing machine (up from 92% in 1987). Top loading washing machines were most common, having been installed in 88% of all mains connected households. Of the households with a washing machine, 33% did six or more loads of washing in the week before the survey.

An estimated 834,800, or 35% of households connected to mains water had a dishwasher, a large increase from the 21% reported in 1987.

Almost all of the households connected to mains water had at least one shower, while 37% had two or more showers (up from 22% in 1987). An estimated 87% of households had bathtubs, while 4% had more than one bathtub (up from 2% in 1987). More than half the households (1,254,400) had more than one toilet, and 14% (334,300) had more than two toilets (up from 6% in 1987).

Graph: Percentage of households with selected water using appliances, Comparison of 2002 and 1987


An estimated 281,600 or 15% of households living in selected dwelling types connected to mains water had a swimming pool, a proportion which has remained stable since 1987. A higher proportion of households in Sydney had pools (17%), compared with the rest of NSW (11%).

In NSW in 2002, 1,848,400 or 96% of households (excluding flats, units or apartments) connected to mains water had gardens. Of these, 65% used garden mulch, compared with 55% in 1987. Households in Sydney were less likely to use mulch compared with the rest of NSW. In Sydney, 62% of households used mulch, compared with 71% of households in the rest of New South Wales.

The most common method of watering gardens was with a hand-held hose, used by 75% of households with gardens. Other common methods of watering were sprinklers (33%) and fixed watering systems (24%).

Of the households in NSW connected to mains water, 1,494,800 households (63%) had vehicles that were washed at the dwelling. During the month prior to October 2002, 73% (1,089,000) of these households washed a vehicle at least once.


The NSW Domestic Water Use Survey was conducted during October 2002. In the months leading up to October 2002, many regions of NSW were affected by drought. Consequently certain types of water use may have been curtailed, either voluntarily or due to local water restrictions. The water use patterns recorded in this survey should therefore be interpreted with this in mind .