Water saving tips | He whakaaro mō te penapena i te wai

In Aotearoa New Zealand we're surrounded by water, so it's easy to think of it as a free resource - one that will never run out. But that isn't entirely the case.

There's only a certain amount of water in our rivers, streams and dams, and sometimes (especially in summer) demand is greater than supply. 

Did you know?

On average, each person uses 250-300 litres of water per day. With a population of around 36,000, Horowhenua uses at least 9,000,000 litres in private homes each day.

In a typical household, water consumption is fairly evenly split between:

Residential Water Use graph - Statistics from Building Research Association NZ (BRANZ) 2022.

Source: BRANZ, Building Research Association of New Zealand. 

Water conservation starts at home

Water conservation starts at home, where our daily use of tapware, showerheads, dishwashers and toilets all add up to some big numbers. Fortunately, you can dramatically reduce your water usage through these helpful tips you can use throughout your home.

In the bathroom / toilet

Water drop web icon.png     Be conscious in your daily routine
Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving.
Water drop web icon.png     Stop the drip
Check your toilet cistern, taps and pipes for leaks or overflow. 
Water drop web icon.png   Short showers saves you money
Each minute you add to your shower time uses about 14 litres of water - for a household of three that extra minute adds up to 2,184 litres a year and could cost you about $90 a year in electricity.
Water drop web icon.png     Don't just watch the shower warming up
While the water's heating up use a bucket to catch water as it warms up - it's easy to carry it out of the house so you can keep water-hungry herbs happy in summer.
Water drop web icon.png     Slow the flow
If you have a handheld type of showerhead, it's easy and cheap to retrofit it with a flow restrictor (if you have a showerhead that's fixed to the wall contact your plumber for options).
Water drop web icon.png   Be a tidy kiwi, put it in the bin!
Using your loo as a rubbish bin uses heaps of water (average flush is more than six litres of water) and also causes a lot of issues when treating waste too.


In the garden / outdoors

Water drop web icon.png     Evaporation is enemy number one
Water your garden early in the morning or later in the evening to maximise absorption to the plants and reduce water loss to evaporation.
Water drop web icon.png     Avoid the hose
Use a bucket of water and a mop / sponge instead of a hose for outdoor cleaning jobs.
Water drop web icon.png     The silent sprinkler
If you're using a sprinkler or drip lines in your garden, set a timer to remind yourself to turn it off.
Water drop web icon.png     Make mulch your friend
Use mulch. Good quality mulch can reduce water lost to evaporation by 70%. It also keeps the weeds down, stops run-off and adds goodness to the soil.
Water drop web icon.png     Wait to water
Water your lawn only when it really needs it. To test this, step on the grass. If it springs back up, it doesn’t need watering. If it stays flat, it does.
Water drop web icon.png   Get in the know
Use a rain gauge or a tin to monitor rainfall at your house and adjust your watering to suit.
Water drop web icon.png   Plan your planting
If you're planning a new garden, look for natives that suit, or group plants with the same watering needs together.  
Water drop web icon.png   Deep soak your lawn instead of a quick drink
This helps the grass to become more deeply rooted, seeking out moisture from the deep soil and makes your lawn stronger.
Water drop web icon.png
Grow your grass a little bit longer in the summer
Taller grass holds water better and it'll stay greener for longer. Let the lawn go brown, it won't die off completely but will spring back to life when it rains again. You can also find out about how warm season grasses look great in summer temperatures and don't need a lot of water or mowing.
Water drop web icon.png   Take aim with your sprinkler
Use a timer with your sprinkler and take good aim. Make sure you position your sprinklers so the water lands on your lawn or garden, not paved areas or unsuspecting neighbours.
Water drop web icon.png   Install a rainwater tank
Emergency rainwater tanks are a handy alternative water source for a vegetable garden or lawn during peak summer months - find out more on our Emergency Rainwater Tanks page.


In the laundry

Water drop web icon.png     Stop the drip
Check your taps and pipes for leaks or overflow. 
Water drop web icon.png   When shopping, look for the stars
When buying a new washing machine, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They're more water and energy efficient.
Water drop web icon.png  

Hold off for a full wash
Only do full loads in the washing machine - the average volume of water for a single load of washing is more than 120 litres

Water drop web icon.png   Catch that water
When soaking clothes, use a bucket instead of the tub so you can chuck it on a shrub that needs some love.


Water drop web icon.png   Slow the flow
Install an aerator or flow restrictor on sink taps. This allows you to control your water use easier and still get the job done.


In the kitchen

Water drop web icon.png     Fill it up before flicking the switch
Only do full loads in the dishwasher. Dishwashers use a huge amount of electricity so doing this will save you money as well.
Water drop web icon.png   Rubba dub dub, put your veges in a tub!
When washing fruit and veges use a small bowl instead of running a tap. Then you can also reuse that water.
Water drop web icon.png  

Slow the flow
Install an aerator or flow restrictor on sink taps. This allows you to control your water use easier and still get the job done.

Water drop web icon.png   Have a couple of thousand worms eat your food scraps, or compost!
Waste disposal units use about 30 litres of water per day and send a lot of extra rubbish into water treatment centres.