It is a simple formula: the less water we use the longer it will last.
So, while Armidale Regional Council, through Mayor Simon Murray, urges residents to reduce water usage to conserve what is left of the Malpas Dam supply, UNE's Wright College & Village is doing something about it by encouraging all its residents to collect a shower timer from its front office.
"The Wright Sustainability Committee is considering options for our first rewards when we hit our water reduction targets. Thanks to those who have already started using their shower timers," Wright College's Facebook page reads.
So, Wright has a committee, targets, rewards and the practicality of shower timers - proven water saving devices.
Cr Murray was pleased to learn about this effort and thought the initiative was indicative of the sort of things that still needed to happen.
"Reducing our water usage is the one simple thing we all can do right now to make a big difference, and Wright College seems to be leading the way," he said.
"It's about the simple things; make sure you have a full load for your washing machine and same thing with the dishwasher. Shower with a timer (or shower with a friend), and remember when you're having a shower, if you just turn the tap on a low flow rate you'll use a lot less water.
"Turn the tap off while you are cleaning your teeth."
Cr Murray thought those living in rural areas were better practiced at saving water, especially in times such as these.
"Water carriers are nearly running full-time now. So, for us, if we run out of water, we can't just ring up a carrier and get it delivered this afternoon because they are so far behind," he said.
"We're conscious of that, and automatically go into a 'save water mode', and we remain conscious of it."
EASY WAYS TO SAVE WATER
IN THE HOUSE
- Keep drinking water in the fridge to avoid running water down the sink.
- Take timed, shorter showers
- Turn off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving.
- Wash vegetables or rinse dishes in a plugged sink.
- Thaw frozen foods in fridge or microwave, not under the tap.
- Use the washing machine and dishwasher only when full and use the economy cycle.
- Turn taps off firmly and replace washers as soon as they start leaking.
- Install a water-efficient showerhead and fit tap aerators to taps to reduce usage.
- Repair any leaking toilets and use the half-flush.
- Buy new appliances with a high water-efficiency rating.
- Detect hidden leaks: record the numbers on your water meter before bed and again in the morning. If you used no water and the numbers differ, you could have a hidden leak in your pipes.
IN THE GARDEN
- Select the plants most compatible to your area.
- Group plants with similar watering needs together.
- Use a watering can or a trigger nozzle on a hose to water the garden.
- Compost kitchen scraps and garden waste.
- Mulch around plants to reduce water evaporation.
- Wash the car on the lawn to water and fertilise the grass.
- Double your soil's water holding ability by increasing its depth, making it less compacted and adding composted organic material.
- Remove weeds quickly - they are water thieves.
- Install a rainwater tank.
- Install a grey-water reuse system for watering gardens and washing cars.
Understand your water use.
- Read meters at least daily to make sure you don't have undetected leaks.
- Benchmark your water use so you can see how much water you're using compared to others in your industry. Common benchmarks include litres per square metre (for buildings) or per unit of production (for manufacturers).
- Check for leaks in taps, pipes and hoses. One leaking tap can waste more than 2000 litres a month.
- To reduce leaks in taps. Turn your taps off lightly and replace washers as soon as they begin to leak.
- Check that urinals and toilets are not leaking or flushing when not in use.
Install water efficient devices.
- Install at least three star rated flow restrictors in taps and showers.
- Replace single flush toilets with efficient dual flush models. If you can't replace toilets immediately, reduce flush volumes
Implement water efficient processes.
- Mop floors instead of hosing them. Use mops, brooms or a bucket to wash and rinse. Encourage staff to rinse their dishes in a plugged sink rather than under a running tap.
- Think about installing your own wastewater treatment system to recycle water.
Communicate with staff.
- Provide incentives for staff to save water by linking water conservation to staff performance reviews.
- Ask your staff for water saving ideas - they know how they use water in your business, and be sure to follow up on ideas and report back on progress. Simple ideas from staff may save more water than you ever imagined.
- Include water saving policies and procedures in staff training programs and talk about water conservation plans, opportunities and progress at staff meetings.
- Communicate water saving ideas using bulletins, newsletters, emails or posters.