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Water saving advice

Water is a precious resource for us to use wisely.

The combined level of the SEQ Water Grid is now below 60%. We are in the ‘drought response’ phase of the region’s Drought Response Plan. This means we are:

  • increasing production at the Gold Coast Desalination Plant
  • maximising operation of the SEQ Water Grid
  • asking the community to use water wisely.

While there are no water restrictions at this level, there are lots of simple ways you can save water.

We're encouraging everyone to take the Water Promise and become water wise! 

Everyone and Every Drop Counts CTA

If one million people in South East Queensland make a commitment to save just three litres of water a day, we could save three million litres of water every day!

That's 15,000 bathtubs of water.

Water saving tips

Indoors

Bathroom

  • Take a shorter shower.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving.

Toilet

  • Use the half flush when appropriate.
  • Don’t flush rubbish and other waste down the toilet. This wastes water, causes significant sewerage blockages which require large amounts of water to clean up.

Kitchen

  • Avoid pre-rinsing dishes for the dishwasher – a good scrape is usually enough
  • Only use the dishwasher when it is full. A dishwasher uses the same amount of water regardless of the number of dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Avoid peeling vegetables under running water. Use a bowl of water or rinse once peeled.

Laundry

  • Only use the washing machine with a full load and on the most efficient cycle.

General

  • Fix dripping taps quickly.
  • Check for a leaking toilet cistern.
  • Where plumbing is required, contact a registered and licensed plumber.
    Visit mpaq.com.au for a list of registered plumbers.
  • Choose water efficient washing machines, toilets, shower heads, dishwashers and other appliances.
  • Check out how the rating works at waterrating.gov.au.

Outdoors

Garden

  • Talk to your local nursery about improving the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, mulching and planting appropriate species of plants and lawn.
  • Aerate your lawn so it is ready to absorb any rain we receive.
  • Use your rainwater tank for watering the garden and topping up the pool instead of drinking water.
  • Use a hose with a trigger nozzle. Remember to turn off the hose at the tap once finished watering. Hose nozzles can be forced off under the pressure of the water supply and left running can waste 1000 litres of water per hour.
  • Regularly check, maintain and use your irrigation system.
  • Water your garden before 8am or after 4pm – out of the heat of the day when evaporation is at its highest.
  • Consider how much you need to water – many plants can tolerate less watering than you think.
  • Use a timer if using a sprinkler or irrigation system and consider reducing frequency or install a moisture sensor to reduce irrigating when it rains.
  • Select plants that can tolerate dry conditions.

For advice and tips, visit:

Swimming Pools

  • Use a pool cover.
  • Carry out regular maintenance, including checking for leaks.
  • Use rainwater to fill your pool when possible.
  • Don’t waste water when backwashing.

For more tips, visit https://www.spasa.com.au/consumer-info/water-energy-tips/water-savings/

Cleaning

  • Use a broom, brush, blower or rake to sweep and clean outdoor paths and paving instead of hosing them down with water.
  • Spot clean for safety, health or emergency reasons with a hose fitted with trigger nozzle or with high pressure cleaning equipment.
  • Fill a bucket, and use a sponge to remove extra stubborn marks.
  • Avoid using the hose to clean the driveway – use a broom or leaf blower.

Car Washing

  • Use a low flow/high pressure wash.
  • Wash the car on the lawn, using biodegradable cleaning chemicals, to give your grass a good watering in addition to cleaning your car.
  • Use a bucket or a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle.
  • Use a fixed automatic car wash service.
  • Try using a waterless car washing product.

Complete a home water audit

Do you know how much water your household uses? A home water audit could help. Get the family involved and do a water audit to see where you use the most water in the house.

DOWNLOAD HOME WATER AUDIT HERE

Industry and community groups

Business and industry

  • Conduct a water audit to help you identify unexpected patterns such as leaks or faulty fixtures and where you can save water.
  • Fix any outside leaks and/or dripping taps and showers.
  • Test your irrigation systems to ensure they are operating efficiently.

For more water wise tips, visit:

Community groups and body corporate

  • Monitor and record your water use in the pool and how to minimise waste resulting from backwashing.
  • Consider if there are opportunities to use a pool cover when the pool is not in use.
  • Consider installing a rainwater tank in the common area to wash your cars, water your garden and/or landscape and replace garden beds with drought resistant plants and foliage.
  • Erect signs in the ‘common areas’ to remind everyone not to waste water.

For more water wise tips:

Outdoor sports fields

We understand to maintain sports fields for safe play, they require water. But a few simple tips can help reduce the amount of water required and avoid water wasting when watering sports fields:

  • use deep and infrequent applications of water (watering to field capacity)
  • minimise light frequent hand watering
  • know your irrigation system and how much it applies.

Water restrictions

Our dam levels are below 60%, so we are asking everyone in South East Queensland to voluntarily reduce their water use. Water restrictions apply in some areas that are not connected to the SEQ Water Grid.

Scenic Rim

Aratula, Beaudesert, Boonah, Canungra, Kalbar, Kooralbyn, Mt Alford, Rathdowney

Water restrictions in the Scenic Rim were lifted on Wednesday 31 March 2021 following recent rain.

More info: urbanutilities.com.au/restrictions

Dayboro

Water restrictions are not in place but we ask everyone to use water wisely through simple indoor and outdoor tips.

More info: https://www.unitywater.com/dayboro

Lockyer Valley and Somerset

Water restrictions are currently not in place but we’re asking everyone to reduce their water use. Water restrictions will be considered when the combined level of SEQ Water Grid dams reaches 50%.

Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast

Water restrictions are currently not in place but we’re asking everyone to reduce their water use. Water restrictions will be considered when the combined level of SEQ Water Grid dams reaches 50%.

Current SEQ Water Grid capacity

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With combined dam levels below 60%, we're asking people to be water wise in line with South East Queensland's Drought Response Plan.

Water for life - our water future

South East Queensland's Water Security Program

The Water Security Program is Seqwater's plan for providing the region's water over the next 30 years, including during times of drought and flood.

Read the Water Security Program here.

South East Queensland's Drought Response Plan

Our drought response approach is adaptive to allow actions and triggers to adjust to demand, climate, severity of drought and other external factors. 

Drought response is triggered when the SEQ Water Grid reaches 60%.

See our Drought Response Plan here.

Water security and consumption

In 2020, the average person used 169 litres of water per day.

We talk about 'demand' when determining how much water communities in South East Queensland use. Demand is significantly impacted by climate, population growth, weather and changes in how communities consume water.

We will continue to work with the Water Service Providers to understand longer-term demand management options.

Read our weekly water security and consumption report to track our water usage as a region.

SEQ Water Grid

The SEQ Water Grid allows us to move treated drinking water around the region. This is especially important when patchy rainfall leaves some areas with full dams and other parts of the region with lower dam levels.

The water grid connects the region’s major water treatment plants and our climate-resilient water sources, the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and the purified recycled water treatment plants of the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme.

Our water grid means we can change water supply sources and move water around South East Queensland. The Water Grid can supplement but not completely replace local water supplies.

Find out more about the SEQ Water Grid.

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Resources
  • What is the Water Promise?

    The Water Promise is a clear action to commit to save water in and around our homes and workplace.

    No matter where you are on your water saving journey, there are many simple ways we can all save water, every day. Everyone and every drop counts.

    I've signed up, now what?

    Water is a precious resource for us to use wisely. Now that you have made a commitment to save water, there are a number of things you can do from here:

    • conduct a home water audit to see how much water your household uses, and where you can focus your water saving efforts
    • sign up for monthly tips and updates to support you on your water saving mission
    • check this page for a range of helpful resources, tips and tools to give you ideas
    • encourage your family and friends to make a Water Promise
    • share your water saving ideas with us on Facebook or join the #MyWaterPromise conversation
    Why should I make a Water Promise?

    Everyone and every drop counts. In South East Queensland, we rely mostly on dams as a source of water supply. The reality is, we can't rely on rain to fall where and when we need it.

    We are all part of the community we serve. With dam levels falling below 60%, we're asking everyone to find ways to reduce their water usage. No matter where you are in the region, we can all make a Water Promise towards a sustainable water future.

    Why are we being asked to save water?

    South East Queensland’s largest drinking water storage – Wivenhoe – is at the lowest its been in almost a decade. 

    Water is our most precious resource and to support our community and environment in times of drought we all need to do our part to use less water.

    This is where the Water Promise comes in. By promising to save more water and taking action to learn where you can do so in and around your home, you’ll join others in your community committed to our water future.

    What difference can one person make?

    You may feel that your individual water saving efforts don’t make a huge difference. 

    But if one million people in South East Queensland make a commitment to save just three litres of water a day, we could save three million litres of water a day! That's 15,000 bathtubs.

    Everyone and every drop really do count.

    When are mandatory water restrictions likely to be introduced?

    The South East Queensland Drought Response Plan introduces mandatory region-wide water restrictions when the combined level of our drinking water dams reach 50% capacity. 

    If mandatory water restrictions are introduced at 50%, they will be in place across the entire South East Queensland region and ask residents to target 140 litres of water per person per day.

    Can I top up my empty rainwater tank with town water?

    You are currently allowed to use town water to water your garden, top up your pool and for all other outdoor water use activities. 

    Currently there are no water restrictions on these uses, but you are encouraged to remain efficient in your water use and monitor your consumption to ensure you are aware of increases in your use. It is also a good idea to make sure your rainwater tank is available to capture any rain that does fall.

    Water saving tips include: keeping the pool cover on when the pool is not in use, avoid watering the garden in the heat of the day between 8am – 4pm, and using water saving mulch to reduce water lost to evaporation.

    What is Seqwater doing to make sure we don't run out of water?

    Seqwater is responsible for water security in South East Queensland and in line with its legislative responsibility has developed and amended its Water Security Program – a long-term plan to manage water security across the region.

    This Program includes triggers for activating drought response and actions that aim to manage the water supply and demand to ensure that the region does not run out of water. 

    The biggest single change since the Millennium Drought has been the construction of the SEQ Water Grid which allows Seqwater to move treated drinking water around the region.

    The connected water treatment plants and pipelines across the grid, and the availability of the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme to respond to drought, means the region has more resources at its disposal than ever before to manage drought.

    Why are we being asked to conserve water after significant investment in desalination and purified recycled water?

    The SEQ Water Grid and the availability of climate-resilient infrastructure like the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme has provided us with the means to better manage drought conditions. However this infrastructure only mitigates the effects of drought - it does not prevent severe drought.

    Seasonal rainfall is still important because it replenishes surface water in dams, which account for most of South East Queensland’s water supply.

    It is important to remember that in South East Queensland, we live in a climate of extremes and need to be ready to adjust our water use when conditions change.

    We are one region with one water supply. Everyone needs to be water efficient, even when parts of our region experience wetter conditions than other areas.

    By better managing our water supply we can help delay and even potentially avoid the need for mandatory water restrictions. We understand water restrictions impact our lifestyle and economy, so being water efficient whenever we can will help delay restrictions.

    What is Seqwater doing to prepare for climate change?

    Seqwater regularly monitors the level of water in our dams (the drawdown), rainfall frequency, duration and volume. This is compared to previous data to understand any significant changes. 

    Seqwater is also aware of, and is considering, climate information for South East Queensland available from the State Government and other organisations.  This information will form part of the considerations for the types of water supply options for South East Queensland into the future. When we are planning for the future, we will consider a number of scenarios, and continue to monitor trends, and adapt our planning accordingly.

    We are also developing a business-wide Climate Resilience Strategy to deal with the many impacts of a changing climate. Seqwater has worked with the State Government in the development of the Strategy and it features as a case study within the Queensland Government’s own Climate Adaptation Strategy. 

    I am noticing an increase in water tankers taking water, what are they doing?

    During dry conditions, there can be an increase in water tanker use delivering water to properties not connected to the town water supply as their rainwater tanks run dry. 

    There are also other reasons for the use of town water via a tanker such as filling swimming pools, roadworks and dust suppression. 

    The taking of this water is managed through the South East Queensland Water Retailers through a permit or licensing system. If you are concerned about how or what water is being taken for by the tanker, please contact your relevant South East Queensland Water Retailer (Urban Utilities, Unitywater, Logan City Council, Redland City Council or City of Gold Coast).

    When will industry be asked to save water?

    Many businesses have retained their water efficiency since the Millennium Drought and will continue to do so over the years to come. 

    When the combined level of our drinking water dams is 60%, water conservation and business and industry voluntary programs will be made available. They will contain information for businesses to conduct their own audit to investigate further water efficiencies in their businesses.

    Seqwater will work with peak industry bodies to encourage appropriate water efficiencies for that industry type.

    Will you close or restrict recreation at lakes if water levels continue to drop?

    Seqwater endeavours to keep recreation open at its recreational lakes, however if water levels drop to a point that recreation activities become unsafe, restrictions and subsequent closures may be required. 

    This is consistent with our approach across all our recreation lakes to best ensure the safety of the public. 

    We appreciate any closure impacts on recreation users, especially during the summer and holidays but Seqwater has a duty of care to close recreation if public safety is at risk. 

    If areas are closed or restricted, we will seek to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so. Seqwater informs and updates local stakeholders of potential closures before they take place.

    Where can I find the amended Drought Response Plan?

    On 24 March 2017, Seqwater released South East Queensland’s updated Drought Response Plan, developed as part the Water Security Program 2016 – 2046, our long-term water plan for the region. A key change to our region’s drought strategy is the introduction of a drought readiness phase to help better prepare the region for the prospect of drought. 

    More about our Drought Response Plan is on page 10 of our Water Security Program 2016-46.