Why should you conserve water?

Like many things around us, we seldom appreciate what is plentiful and easy to obtain. What could be more plentiful in the Burdekin than water?

Water we use in our homes does not just magically appear. Considerable public money has been invested in providing the pumps and water mains to service properties and continued high usage and increase in demand will accelerate the need to upgrade the system or establish alternative raw water supplies.

When you consider that only about 1% of the total water used by each property is for direct human consumption it is essential water conservation awarness programmes be established for water that is used in bathrooms, showers, washing and in particular your garden.

The allocation of water to properties in the Burdekin Shire (your annual entitlement) is generous compared to many other Councils across Queensland but property owners still need to monitor water consumption so that they do not exceed their entitlements.

You pay for every drop of water used, whether it is used wisely or wasted, so water conservation is something we should all practice.

Where does your water go?

To assist you in understanding where your water goes, the following estimates give a guide to typical water use patterns for various activities around the home:

Showerup to 250 litres for an average 8 minute shower
Bath120 litres
Toilet13 litres full flush
Dishwashingby hand 18 litres per wash
machine up to 90 litres per wash
Clothes Washinglarge automatic up to 250 litres per wash
Car Washing100 to 300 litres
Garden Sprinklervaries – however 1000 litres per hour not unusual
Dripping Tap30 to 500 litres per day
Leaking Pipe300 litres per day

Basic components to a Water Conservation Program

Step One – Economise

Look at your water use habits developed over a lifetime. Two-thirds of water usage on typical Burdekin properties is on lawns and gardens. Also a lot of water goes down the drain because we have always thought of water being plentiful and cheap. Typically about 75% of water usage inside your house occurs in the bathroom and laundry, very little is used for human consumption.

Be aware of the amount of water used and look for ways to use less whenever you can. Measure usage through your sprinklers, know what every hour of watering uses. Be selective when next buying a washing machine or dishwasher, give preference to those which use less water.

Step Two – Repair Leaks

Check that you do not have leaking taps or pipes. Turn off all taps and check whether the flow indicator on the meter is moving or the red numbers are turning. These can only move if water is flowing eg. through a dripping tap. Replace faulty tap washers and pipes where necessary. A leaking tap or pipe could result in your usage exceeding the annual entitlement and excess water charges being applied.

A leak of just one drop per second wastes in excess of 10,000 litres of water a year. Leaks are among the greatest enemies of a water conservation programme and cannot be taken lightly.

Step Three – Install Water Saving Devices

There are many devices you can buy and have installed by your plumber to reduce your water use. These include faucet aerators, flow regulators for shower heads, and dual flush toilet systems (if not already installed).

The use of tap timers or automatic watering systems can have a significant impact on the efficient use of water to the lawn and garden areas.

Conserving Water

Water is a precious and limited resource. By practicing the following water conservation tips you could save money for Council and yourself.

  • Garden – mulching (compost, chip bark, etc.) is an effective technique for conserving water.
  • You may only need to water your lawn twice per week (over watering of plants and lawn can be just as damaging to growth as under watering).
  • Review your watering programme to demand only, with watering carried out when plants or lawn show signs of needing it.
  • It is best not to water in windy conditions or in the heat of the day.
  • Monitor your usage at the meter on a regular basis.

Meter Type

All properties are provided with a Water Meter. Council reads all meters in both May/June and October/November.

Meter Reading

The register on the meter has eight numbers. Five (5) of the numbers are black and three (3) are red.

The black numbers measure your water consumption in kilolitres.  Only the black numbers are used by Council for measuring water consumption. The red numbers read down to tenths of a litre. The red number on the last wheel in the illustration indicates 1/2 of a litre. The red markings are only used by Council for testing purposes.

The meters automatically reset to zero when they reach 10,000 kilolitres.

Backflow Prevention

Installation of underground lawn sprinkler systems connected to the Shire’s reticulated water supply must have backflow prevention devices installed. Any person who has already or proposes to install a watering system should contact the Council Plumbing Section to discuss the procedures for installation of backflow prevention equipment.

This is necessary to ensure public health standards are met and the potential for contamination of the town water supply are minimised.

Maintenance of your meter

  1. Council is responsible for maintaining the water service from the water main up to and including the water meter for normal wear and tear. The property owner/occupier is responsible for the cost of repairs, carried out by Council, of any damage other than normal wear and tear, caused to the water meter and associated pipe work. Any fault in the water service including the meter should be reported to Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  2. The occupier/owner of any premises is responsible for maintaining the water supply pipes within the property. Any maintenance required is to be carried out by a Licensed Plumber at the owner’s cost.
  3. If your water meter is not working or is found to be reading inaccurately, Council is empowered under its by-laws to estimate consumption and charge accordingly. A faulty meter may over read and cost you more in charges, therefore it is in your interest to regularly check that your water meter is working. Any fault in the water service including the meter should be reported to Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  4. When a water meter is replaced, monitor your water consumption carefully as your old meter may have been significantly under reading your water consumption due to its age. New water meters measure the volume more accurately and you will need to review your water usage habits.

Remember: It is an offence to interfere with your meter or service or to otherwise take water illegally.

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