Water use & conservation


Sydney has about 5 million people. This is expected to grow to 5.3 million by 2031.

All these people need water for drinking, cooking, washing, making products, growing food, fighting fires, keeping cool, watering gardens and recreation activities.

Water is a valuable resource and we shouldn’t waste it. That’s why we have water saving tips to help everyone do their bit to save water.

Water restrictions are now in place as Sydney's dry weather continues. Keep up to date on dam and rainfall levels.

Did you know that most of the water used in Sydney is used at home?

Boy giving water to a dog.

We use water for drinking, washing and bathing- even pets!

How do you use water at home?

Boy brushes his teeth.

Brushing teeth uses water.

Think about all the ways you use water at home. You might use water for:

  • drinking and cooking
  • washing, bathing and keeping clean
  • garden watering
  • keeping cool and recreation activities.

How much water do you use?

On average, each person in Sydney uses about 200 litres of water a day!

 

Water use at home infographic

We typically use the most water in the shower.


There are two main ways to find out how much water your family uses.

  1. Read your water meter.
  2. Look at your water bill.

By monitoring these things over time, you can track how water wise your family is. Use our water efficiency targets to check how much water a water wise family uses.


Reading your water meter

Most homes have a water meter that shows how much water is being used. Some homes may also have a second purple meter for recycled water.

You can work out how much water you use in a day by looking at the meter one day and comparing it at the same time the next day. The difference in the meter reading is the amount of water used in a day.

By monitoring the meter when no one is using water, you can also work out if there are any leaks.

See How to read a water meter and find leaks.


Reading your bill

We send your family a water bill about every three months. This shows exactly how much water you used over the past three months and how much this costs your family.

See How to read a water bill.

How much do different appliances use?

Is it better to hand wash dishes or use the dishwasher?
Which uses more water, a bath or a shower?


Use the table to work out how much water your family uses doing everyday things like showering or washing up.

Water use in the home
Appliance/source Litres (L) used
Shower
Regular showerhead
Water efficient showerhead
 

10 L a minute
6-7 L a minute
Bath
Average bath
 

110 L
Toilet
Single flush toilet
Older dual flush toilet (1983s model)
Modern dual flush toilet (2005 or later)

 

11 L a flush
11 L a full flush, 5.5 L a half flush
4.5 L a full flush, 3 L a half flush
Hand basin
Running tap
 

4 L a minute
Dishwashing
Washing by hand
Older dishwashing machine (before 2014)
Average dishwashing machine
 

15 L
13 L a load
12 L a load
Clothes washing
Front loader washing machine
Top loader washing machine 

65 L a load
110 L a load
Garden
Filling a backyard pool
Sprinkler
Outdoor tap 

Up to 54,000 L
999 L an hour
15 L a minute
Car washing
Hose washing
Bucket washing
 

180 L a wash
  99 L a wash
Leaks (taps and pipes)
Dripping tap
Leaking pipe (1.5 mm hole)
 

27 - 198 L a day
99 L a day
Leaks (toilet cisterns)
Slow, barely visible
Leak visible in toilet pan
Visible, just audible
Quite visible, constant hiss
  
  9 L a day
  36 L a day
144 L a day
261 L a day

 

A girl waters the garden at school.

Do you water the plants at school?

Did you know that schools in greater Sydney use about 7,790 million litres of water a year? 

Water at school is used for things like:

  • drinking water from bubblers
  • preparing food in the canteen and kitchens
  • washing hands
  • watering the garden
  • flushing toilets.

How can your school do a water audit?

A school water audit is a way to find out:

  • how many water devices your school has
  • how efficient your school's water devices are 
  • which areas of the school might have problems, like taps that waste water by leaking or flowing too fast.


By doing a water audit, you'll find out how water efficient your school is. Learn how to do a School water audit.
 

Children check the flow rate of a tap at school.

Doing a water audit is a great way to find out if there are leaking taps at your school.

How much water does your school use?

There are two main ways to find out how much water your school uses:

  1. Read your meter
  2. Look at your water bill.

Monitor these things over time to work out how water wise your school is.


Reading your meter

Every school has a water meter that shows how much water is being used.

You can work out how much water your school uses in a day by looking at the meter one day and comparing it to the same time the next day. The difference in the meter reading is the amount of water being used in a day. By monitoring the meter when no one is using water (like overnight), you can also work out if there are any leaks.

Learn How to read a water meter and find leaks.


Reading your bill

About every three months, your school gets a water bill from Sydney Water. This shows exactly how much water was used and how much this costs your school.

Learn How to read a water bill. 

How can you be more water efficient?

Being careful with how much water we use helps makes sure there's enough for everybody. There are things we can all do every day to be more water efficient.

Water restrictions are now in place as Sydney's dry weather continues.

Kitchens, bathrooms and laundries

Diagram of water saving tips for the bathroom.

The bathroom is a great place to start saving water.

  • Only turn the tap on as hard as you need.
  • Use the half flush button on your toilet instead of the full flush when you can.
  • Put a plug in the sink rather than leave the water running.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the fridge rather than placing them under running water.
  • Turn off taps when you finish using them. 
  • Take shorter showers. Every minute less in the shower saves one bucket of water.
  • Consider installing water efficient appliances at home.
  • Wait for a full load of washing before turning on the washing machine.
  • Wait for a full load of dishes before turning on the dishwasher.
  • Report leaking taps, bubblers and toilets to an adult. A bubbler or tap dripping just one drop a second can waste 7,000 litres a year!

Gardens

Diagram of water saving tips for the garden.

Only use the water you need on your garden.

  • Use watering cans or trigger nozzles on hoses so you water only those areas that need it.
  • Wash your car on the lawn so that you water and fertilise the grass at the same time. Car shampoos use phosphates that are like many fertilisers.
  • Always use a broom or rake rather than a hose to clean driveways and pathways.
  • Get mulching! Applying 7-10 cm of mulch around plants can save up to 70% of water lost through evaporation.
  • Remove weeds from the garden that take water from the plants you want.
     
Learn more about what you can do to reduce water use using our water saving tips.

How much does water cost?

It costs money to make sure there's high quality, safe water every time you turn on the tap.

There's a lot to think about when setting prices for water and there's different prices for your home and businesses. You can learn more about how our prices are set.

Access to high quality water services is essential to protect and improve the quality of life for our communities. Maintaining fair and equal access to drinking water and wastewater services is something we take seriously in our role as corporate citizens.

We offer a range of options to help customers who have trouble paying their bills. Find out how we can provide help with your bill.

Water cost infographic

Over the past four years, we've improved customer satisfaction, created efficiencies and ensured bills remain as low as possible.


How does tap water compare to bottled water?

Did you know that Australians are buying more bottled water than ever before?

Although bottled water is much more expensive than tap water, it's not necessarily any better for us, or the environment.

Learn more about Tap water versus bottled water.

Water cost infographic2

Drinking tap water is the most cost effective way to stay hydrated - especially compared to bottled water.