A sharp rise in water consumption rates during summer highlights how quickly accumulated reserves can be depleted and the importance of rainwater harvesting.

Old habits die hard – even after periods of austerity caused by water restrictions during drought. Average consumption has hovered around 230 litres per person per day since the start of 2013 … well above the target usage of 155 litres per person, per day during the height of the recent drought.

The jump follows an easing of water restrictions and is probably attributable to more frequent and more extensive garden watering during hot spells.

Capital city based storage levels are managed but it’s important not to be complacent about the amount of water we have at our disposal and even more important not to waste it. Better still, catch it if you can!

Water tanks are a relatively low cost item that will save water and money. They come in all shapes, sizes and materials and can easily be incorporated into the design of a new home or renovation. They can also be installed at an existing home, but be aware that any alteration to the stormwater system must be undertaken by a licensed plumber.

Low-flow shower heads and dual flush toilet cisterns are even more cost-effective water saving features that will have an immediate impact. Again, speak to a licensed plumber if you’re uncertain about the installation work.

The cheapest way to save water, however (apart from not washing and we don’t condone that!) is to repair dripping taps, pipes or toilet cisterns. Water leaks can waste hundreds of litres of water per year so fixing them is a vital first step towards the creation of a water-wise home.