On Friday the Tweed Coast went into stage 2 water restrictions. I also received my water bill a few days ago so am curious how our usage stacks up, and how we can further reduce it.
During the last quarter, our average daily water usage (2 adults, 2 kids + pool) was 484L. This is down from 527L for the same time last year though is up from 408L the previous quarter.
On an individual basis (do kids use more or less water than adults?) our last quarter worked out to be 121L per person per day.
According to this article in The Conversation, average daily water consumption in Melbourne is 161L per person and 210L per person in Sydney. So we are doing well but I reckon there is room for improvement.
So, what can I do to improve this number?
Although it won't reduce consumption a great deal, I am looking to get some buckets to put in the shower to collect surplus water which we can then use in the garden.
I also pledge not to wash my car. Though, it's a hollow promise as I've only cleaned it twice in nine years anyway.
I'm hoping to do some renovations to the house next year, and if possible would like to install some large tanks to harvest rainwater from the roof. I'd also like to see if we can route grey water from the bathrooms and laundry into the gardens.
Any other suggestions?
You won’t like this suggestion, Ben , but literally the best thing you can do is petition your MP to reduce immigration. And harp everyone you know to do the same thing. Then attend protest marches regarding the environmental destruction and water insecurity resulting from imposing many , many millions more people on the landscape than it can naturally sustain.
The population of the blackfellas pre-colonialism was determined and regulated by the ability of nature to sustain them. Pretty sure it was possibly as low as 300,000 .
Australia has added an extra 300.000 permanent citizens in the last 12 months alone . More than a million people in the last 5 years through economically driven mass immigration. Halting this human deluge is far and away the most effective way to reduce pressure on our tenuous water supply.
Of course you’re talking personal responsibility so I’d recommend timing showers , less flushing of the shitter , less clothes washing . The rainwater tanks and grey water reallocation are a great idea.
I can say the last one cause I’ve been wearing the same boardies for nearly 3 weeks straight to no ill effects.
IMHO all toilets should be on tank water, your just flushing water down the drain to flush crap down the sewer.
To be honest im not to worried about water, because the main chunk of our bill is in charges and our local dam is full its actually been quite wet down here, im pretty frugal anyway.
Electricity im even more frugal about i hate seeing it wasted i designed our house to use as much natural light as possible, never switch a light on during day light hours and only have lights needed and all LED low wattage, does my head in when i see houses with dozens of downlight in a room that only needs one or two, or my neighbours who leave there outside light on all night.
IMHO it would be cool if every household had a max daily energy use they can get from the grid, and the once you hit it you get cut off until next day or get charged rates ten times higher...okay not realistic but would be good.
Washing machines are your big water use..up to a couple of hundred litres per wash
thats your main waterwaste that needs to be harvested for toilet flushing..how many loads per week u reckon Ben?
Also if its yellow let it mellow..then only a half flush to clear it
Get the wife to shorten her showers..sneakily time her showers then X mins by 13ltr...for approx use
Handwash your car Benny with a bucket...then its less than 10 litres with fixed hose spray down
We lived in a shack without power or water for a total of about 18 months and found that just one of those suspended water bag showers was plenty for a good wash and I think they hold about 15 litres. I was building a house for a chunk of that time so it wasn’t like I was only salty from the ocean, but proper dirty.
It opened my eyes how little water you need for showers. When camping next to the ocean, or after a surf , even just a small bowl of water and a facecloth to wipe the salt off is sufficient.
Yeah, if you have a top loading washing machine change it for a front loader when the time comes for a new machine.
Yep got a front loader. Also restrict toilet flushing to number twos.
I'm guilty of a long shower in the mornings, though in my defence it's because I gotta shave my head.
ID - regarding power - the article below has some good suggestions but it turns out leaving lights on doesn't contribute that much these days (as LED lights are very efficient).
Good mate of mine just finished building an incredible house in Adelaide that is fully sustainable. Reckons it's 23-24 degrees inside all year round, irrespective of whether it's 2 degrees or 42 degrees outside.
That house is pretty damn cool , Ben.
Ben - just checked my water bill (same region) and you appear to be doing quite well.
Your mates house is quite inspirational. Anyone on here had much experience dealing with builders and trying to build a sustainable/ eco friendly house? More expensive?
no showers in summer.
swim in the lake, or a bucket of water over the head.
Fantastic home, that's inspiring!
Good thread topic.
If you only have cold showers you get in and out much quicker.
Soap on, soap off, out.
What to get the man who has everything (now the water restrictions have kicked in):
Ben, For the purposes of this post I'm assuming your water bill consists of usage charges and services charges. Like Indo said most of our water bills in Victoria are service charges: service connection fee + parks fee + sewerage fee. What this means is no matter how careful you are with water the great bulk of your bill will be some sort of fee.
The same goes for our electricity and gas bills. The great bulk of these bills are some sort of service or connection fee. Three utility (water, electricity and gas) bills all reaming us with service or connection fees!
The answer? In my case it was to get rid of gas all together, install solar panels and not worry too much about water. So I take a hit on water but more than make up for it with the solar panels (I get cheques from the power company not bills) and not paying for gas service fees.
It's not as easy as it sounds. As part of a renovation we got rid of the gas and installed low power lighting and appliances throughout the house (average daily use below 4 kWh) and the dish washer and front loading washing machine are the lowest energy / water use ones we could buy (high upfront cost). Shower heads and taps are low flow.
But we have a great garden (heavily mulched) and I water it freely when required.
Indo makes a good point about tank water for toilet use and I would add washing clothes. You could consider that as part of your planned renovation.
Forget grey water for your garden, plenty of people recommend it but the detergent build up in your soil isn't good (there are filters and soaps that attempt to deal with that but its extra bother).
Now, check this out, its my dream off grid house (built in a factory just down the road from Indo and delivered to site on trucks) ..... https://ecoliv.com.au/projects/trentham-project
These houses are fantastic and the method of construction minimises waste. Its the future today.
Key ingredient for sustainable energy efficient building design is the double glazing for all windows and glass sliding doors.
The links to the eco houses Ben and Guy put up both have this feature.
Obviously a more expensive initial outlay but the pay off is long term.
Agree with not running a grey water hose to the vege garden, but it is OK for watering the fruit trees or lawn.
Another good way of saving water is to grow all your leafy greens in pots with drip trays, this way you focus your watering and need less and I will often lift the pot out of the drip tray and tip the water in the tray back into the pot.
IMHO those Eco liv houses are a bit of con, they just look like as cheap built places as possible nothing overly special about them eco wise other than min use of materials possible, most of the other aspects are pretty standard nowadays to get the energy rating needed.
Take for example eaves that many houses don't have now days, which is basically just a trend pushed by building companies to cut down in cost both labor and materials, but proper eaves actually play an important part in building design, stopping the high sun in summer from heating up the house (hitting walls and windows) but allowing lower sun of winter to get inside the house (hit walls and windows).
I think a true energy efficient house would be on concrete slab with solid brick or concrete walls to get as much thermal mass as possible which is going to be more expensive than other floor and cladding systems.
Plus if you lived in a southern state you would want heating in the slab which isn't cheap.
Then obviously as many windows facing north and minimum double glazed ideally even triple glazed and then the highest rated installation in roof and walls etc plus even wrapped in an insulation blanket instead of just insulation foil.
But IMHO one of the biggest factors is designing the house for the block it sits on, ideally you design the house for the block you have so you capture as much north sun during winter or if live in the tropics the opposite you have your open areas and widows facing south and be able to open everything up to get max airflow even being elevated to catch airflow.
Thats the problem with many states in Australia i guess we need to design house for very cold winters but also very hot summers.
You make some valid points about eves, orientation and thermal mass Indo but I disagree with you on your assessment of houses like Ecoliv. How many stars do you want? 5, 7 or 10? They will build it for you on a slab, insulated if you want it, with the right orientation and eves etc. On thermal mass you can end up with too much and it then has the opposite effect to what is wanted. Slab heating isn’t really required except in perhaps some high alpine areas or remote west coast Tasmania, I’ve stayed in a few and absolutely baked. And let’s not forget good ventilation requiring some well placed windows on the south face ... and protection of the west face with a garage, water tanks or deciduous trees although with BMOs these days that’s not assured.
What is better for the environment in your guys opinion...
Using mains water to flush your toilets, that don't require any power at all.
Having toilets that flush from a tank, but draw power every time the pump kicks in to flush the dunny?
Edit : My place is set up so the toilets, garden taps and irrigation for the lawn and veggies, fruit trees all run off tanks. But its using power due to the pump kicking in every time...
Personally I reckon you’re doing a great job GF. Do you have any solar?
My yoga teacher has a 60,000 litre tank under his driveway and has everything you do as well as clothes washing and drinking water (multiple filters).
No solar as yet GS, but thats only because we ran out of money during the build.
Definitely next item on the "work in progress" list though. The sparky ran all the provisions for it, just need to save some more cashola
60,000 is a decent chunk of water, Wonder how long it takes before its empty if it doesn't rain?
Some great ideas there.. thanks everyone.
GS - for the record, I'm not worried about the cost of the water bill, I'm trying to reduce my consumption. As such I'm interested in long term solutions that we can all easily adopt to make a difference.
I remember travelling through Central America years ago and being aghast at how people left the taps running all day, because they had so much water it wasn't on their radar to conserve it. Quite the opposite of growing up in SA.
Goofy your tank is above ground ? you shouldnt need a pump ..head pressure from the tank should be all you need...bit slow on refilling the cistern thats all.
Yeah it is Udo, not sure about the toilets but irrigation is useless without a pump.
The tank hasn’t run dry once GF and you should see his veggie patch and fruit trees.
Cheers Ben, tanks are the big fix linked to the toilets and the laundry. Just reckon saving water in our activities of daily living is very hard below certain levels.
These are pretty cool I reckon, saw them in japan. they probably don't save that much water really, but a super smart idea. though they'd be excellent if you're running on a minimalist system
flush the toilet and the basin tap automatically runs allowing you to wash your hands while the cistern fills up. cool stuff
super hygenic too... if you're that way inclined...
Ive seen similar system in aus ,been around for a while.
Yep, that's pretty much standard in any home here. (I don't have them though, our tanks are behind the walls). We have wall mounted controls for raising and lowering the seat, plus flushing or auto flushing via the sensor. The panel also controls the bidet function too.
in some droughts , "most considered owning a dirty car at this time to be downright patriotic"
Ben, get in early with your water saving measures before your kids are teenagers.... the increase in usage is insane!
I drive past the 6 bay car wash twice a day and each bay has a car in it every time, with cars lined up behind them all. Yet the smoke and ash is raining down every day for nigh on 2 months. People are just too dumb now. The Dunning Kruger Effect. Each car wash in the suburbs would be full also. Water spraying all over the place, wasted. They'll have nice clean cars but be dying of thirst beside them.
Here’s the thing, I reckon if you strip away all the bullshit there are certain things governments MUST guarantee for its citizens and access to clean, cheap and reliable water is right up there in the top three along with food and air. We are a first world country so there should be no excuses, drought or no drought it’s a fundamental failure of government. So let's see how this all plays out with the climate heating over the next decade or two.
Edit: With air pollution levels at dangerously toxic levels and water restrictions people living in Sydney and NSW should be demanding answers from their State and Federal governments.
We got our water bill in today average daily usage 270 litres so between 3 of us 90L each
But it says same time last year 550 a day. (183L each)
To be honest i think they have screwed up somehow, because we haven't been away, and we haven't cut down in water use, and we have actually had a leaking tap for months that was dripping that i only fixed last week (had to replace the whole fitting not just rubber washer, i had replaced washes a few times)
I was actually expecting a higher bill as also came out one morning to find the garden flooded because id forget to turn the tap off from topping up pond so 12hrs of tap on.
BTW. for a $295 bill only $42 made up actual water use the rest is charges.
I've been thinking about this issue all through xmas especially reading the papers and how people around the country are really struggling with water and especially so again given government action is making the lives of everyday Australians far worse..
I previously said were are some very basic fundamental things governments absolutely must guarantee for its citizens and access to clean, cheap and reliable water is the most important.
Well, check these out, drought stricken Australia getting fucked over by their government(s).
Glouchester river going to run dry for the first time ever, the same town that successfully won the battle over a new coal mine abutting the beautiful Barrington Tops National Park. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/20/nsw-town-of-gloucest....
Morally corrupted and bankrupted Adani and its water use in a drought declared region https://www.smh.com.au/national/this-drying-continent-can-t-afford-adani...
or this unbelievable development of a Chinese company being approved to mine water out of an aquifer in a drought region https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/28/chinese-company-appr...
Australians are being sold out by their governments in a massive way. We should have adequate water for a comfortable life including gardens, city and bush.
Immigration, mining, corrupted water markets, outdated farming practices and climate all working against us and where is our complicit government?
How good is Scotty from (Hawaiian) Marketing?
Big issues ahead, right across the board GS.
Another example - the long-term volume of water flowing into Perth's catchment has dropped from 338 gigalitres/year (1911 to 1974) to less than 50 GL/year (2010-2016).
And of course population is only going in one direction.
Cost of building a de-sal plant? Around $4 billion.
Daily cost of running a de-sal? $500k per day. Bob Carr referred to desalination as “bottled electricity”.
"Immigration, mining, corrupted water markets, outdated farming practices and climate all working against us and where is our complicit government?"
How good is a two party system totally over a barrel to neoliberalism?!
Yep its all Scomos fault from his 1yr or so he has been in power nothing to do with past governments and nothing to do with state governments.
I guess you have two choices, dams in areas you get rainfall or desalination plants, and as always dams are hard to get happening because there is always opposition especially from greens lobby.
Well if SmoCo can't cop the blame but you're looking to apportion fault for our decline towards corporate plutocracy, then maybe point the finger at the party who's had 18 of the past 24 years in power?
If not them, then who?
Well said Stu.
that's right 18 of the last 24 years of total and complete shitfuckery
"I guess you have two choices"
You conveniently ignore ground water aka aquifers and also plain old rivers, both of which are getting fucked over by your beloved LNP.
Oh yes off course everything would be different and so perfect under Labor.
Labor would fuck things up even worst, just in recent 10 years or so i know of three dam projects rejected in QLD, NSW, VIC all rejected by labor government or state government. (most likely more)
Traveston Crossing Dam QLD, dam for the Maribyrnong River in Victoria, Tillegra Dam NSW.
If we hadn't built desalination plants in recent times we would be completely fucked https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_desalination_plants_in_Australia
Anyway it sucks listening to you guys endless whinge, but i guess it's better than having the same issues and being in a recession under labor, so thank god we live in a democracy where majority rules.
"...but i guess it's better than having the same issues and being in a recession under labor..."
You've forgotten who the better economic managers are.
Traveston Crossing (Mary river) dam was one of the worst and most environmentally damaging proposals ever put before a govt.
Refusing it was the one unequivocal good thing Peter Garret did in his time in politics.
The emergency seyrvices in Victoria have advised all tourists (est: 30,000 plus people) between the NSW-Vic boarder and just west of Bairnsdale (approx 250 km) to evacuate now because of bush fires that have now burnt for over 5 weeks. Tomorrow is going to be catastrophic and the Princes Highway will likely be closed.
The Falls Festival outside Lorne in the Otways has already been evacuated (10,000 people).
Now is not the time to talk about fires or climate change says Scotty from Hawaiian Marketing
Staggering incompetence from Scotty
Don't be ridiculous Guy.
All you need are thoughts and prayers.
Bit old now but relevant to the leftard BS
Excellent article that explains just what the PM put in place to help with the fires
The fake outrage against Scott Morrison
Posted on December 21, 2019 by Thought Hub in Australian Politics,
You know what, I am outraged about Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s holiday. I am outraged that a social media campaign, led by people still bitter about the May 18 election, seeks to exploit a crisis to prosecute their political agenda and hound a man into submission. That’s what I’m outraged about.
Two people have died fighting the fires, and dullards who only need the faintest whiff of an excuse to spew their bile could not jump on social media quickly enough to make hay from the tragedy. Let’s be frank: the majority of the people complaining don’t actually care about the fires or those who fight them. What they care about is prosecuting their political agenda against someone who they would never vote for anyway. The fires are just a convenient excuse.
Note how even the Australian Labor Party has largely been silent in their criticism of Morrison. This is to their credit. Why? Because they understand that there’s little more he can do than show up for a photo opportunity while comforting victims (which he has already done – see image). One might say that Morrison could help fight the fires himself, but we had a Prime Minister who did that once. He was hounded out of office by the same people.
You have probably missed it, but this is just some of what the Morrison government has been doing in response to the fires: (*all sources listed below in case you wish to check)
An extra $11 million in emergency funding has been allocated to support the firefighting effort.
Since November 8, the Australian Defence Force has provided jets to transfer firefighters, air support, refuelling and water supply and lent out some of its bases for storing equipment.
From November 8 to February 1, Air Force is providing airlift support to move large groups of firefighters and their equipment between interstate locations.
From November 17 to December 22, Army is supplying personnel to prepare and cook three meals a day for 250 firefighters at the Rural Fire Service staging ground in the Northern Rivers Region, NSW. This support is to enable respite for the volunteers who have been providing meals.
Since November 29, HMAS Albatross has assisted with water refuelling and retardant loading of aircraft fighting the Currowan fires from Naval Air Station Nowra. Seven New South Wales Rural Fire Service aircraft continue to operate from Nowra, comprising four fixed-wing and three helicopters.
From November 26 to January 13, Army is providing the New South Wales Rural Fire Service with ground logistic support for the movement of vehicles, stores and equipment in the Wauchope, Glen Innes, Kempsey, Casino, Wollondilly and Hawkesbury areas.
On December 20, support provided from RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia, to refuel two Large Aircraft Tankers fighting fires near Cudlee Creek and Munno Para.
For more information, check the defence department website: https://news.defence.gov.au/…/defence-continues-bushfire-su…
What this entire episode shows is the dissonance between real action and symbolism. People on social media love a clever quote or a compelling photo or a heartwarming video. What they don’t take the time to look for is substance and real action. Morrison trusts cabinet process. He trusts that Australia’s ministers and their departments can manage in his absence, if only for a few days. I wonder how many people who just could not wait to smash their keyboards while chugging down a soy frappuccino (too hot for a cappuccino) actually looked further than The Guardian’s outrage inducing headlines to read what real experts have to say about the crisis on the ground.
Here’s what the Australasian National Council for Fire and Emergency Services said about the Federal Government’s response on December 21:
The National Council for fire and emergency services (AFAC) welcomes the increase in Federal Government funding for Australia’s aerial firefighting capacity for 2019/20 announced by the Prime Minister on Thursday 12 December.
The lift of $11 million, in addition to an existing $15 million provided by the Commonwealth annually, will provide the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) with additional capacity to engage and extend critical aerial assets supporting firefighting efforts across Australia.
Here is also what they said about support received, as reported:
The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (Afac) said cross-state firefighting resources were funnelled and distributed across the country where they had been requested, by its national resource sharing centre.
“While many volunteers are not available to travel far from their homes or interstate due to local responsibilities, employment or managing drought-stricken stock that require daily feeding, others are prepared to deploy,” Afac said.
It said there was integrated engagement with the commonwealth and national protocols for managing incident responses and the available fleet of 140 aircraft and international personnel.
“Australia has never been better prepared to face natural disasters,” it said.
Surprised? Probably. Because the main thing that has been reported is the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group. They are a LOBBY group of FORMER firefighters who are only too happy to critique the current PM. Yet what’s interesting is what happens when you go to the source: emergency workers, defence personnel, and actual authorities charged with coordinating the efforts on the ground.
Please do not let social media dictate the national narrative. The outrage is being fueled by bitter, angry people sitting in sumptuous, air conditioned homes who only care about one thing: vengeance for losing the ‘unloseable election’ in May.
REPORT THIS AD
The obsession with defaming Abbott at the G20
In "Australian Politics"
A few things we miss about John Howard
In "Australian Politics"
Seriously, give Tony a break.
In "Just a thought..."
Like The Thought Hub on Facebook
| Defence News
Plus notorious left-wingers like Julie Bishop.
Indo, you do realise that Smoko criticised Christine Nixon because she went out for a meal during fires — labelling her dinner out a “bad judgement call”.
Also, a group of 29 former emergency services bosses have joined together to come up with strategies to deal with Australia’s current bushfire crisis because, they say, the Federal Government is "asleep at the wheel”.
They're calling for a national summit to fill the "leadership vacuum" left by the Morrison government.
It doesn't get any more non-partisan and damning than that Indo.
I doubt you'll read this but anyway...
This article belongs here, well worth a read
Leadership is such an intangible thing, either you have it in your guts or you don't .... Leadership qualities and ambition are never to be confused.
Excerpts from the article ......
"Actually, out of 57 countries recently rated on climate change action Australia is ranked 57th. Which is not best. Which is last. Which gives us the claim to be the worst country in the world on the most important problem facing mankind. Thanks Nero. Thanks Angus.
Anyone who thinks Morrison will change, that he will genuinely address Australia’s grave climate crisis, is grievously mistaken. In January he goes to India, where he will meet Gautam Adani. What promises will be made there, what further subsidies of our money offered, in order that our fires grow bigger and our droughts worse?
His government will not change its criminal course of inaction on climate change. It can’t and it won’t, in part because many of its leaders are climate change denialists, in part because of the curious, inexplicable hold the fossil fuel industry has over it, and in part because it owes Clive Palmer big time, and he wants his giant Galilee Basin coal mine in return for buying Morrison his one-seat majority".
Surf industry is more to blame for chewing thru fire fighting resource.
Toxic Surfboard Factory fires require front line resourcing & emergency response.
Remote-Aerial Crane Arms + Hazmat suits + 40-80 fire fighters + 14 fire trucks.
That's right, to prevent menacing toxic Marine Debris from poisoning the town.
All agree that's more than enough resource to save several bush fire towns.
tbb reckons that don't count as a whinge...just a reality check for skegz!
Now throw in corrupted wave pools sucking up more coolant than Nuclear Plants.
Surfers are now the ultra white seachange trash sucking Oz town's resources dry.
Start of each fiery debate, might wanna run a disclaimer...[ Oh! He's one of those! ]