Analyse your household’s water use with handy online tool

Do you want to know more about your household’s water use and work out where you might be able to make savings? The EcoMatters Environment Trust has created an online DIY interactive water check to help Aucklanders do just that.

EcoMatters sustainability advisor Myrthe Braam says the DIY check mirrors the in-house water audits the trust has been carrying out for Auckland households since 2015.

These audits are funded by us under the Be Waterwise programme and have traditionally targeted high-use households or customers needing to reduce their water bills.

“An online water check has been on our wish list for a while and the Covid-19 pandemic, which coincided with Auckland’s worst drought on record, created the opportunity to make it happen,” Myrthe says. “A DIY check means far more people are able to have a thorough analysis of their water usage and they can do it at any time that suits them.”

The comprehensive check takes about 25 minutes to complete. It covers all areas of the house from meter reading, to leak detection and the appliances in your home. The information then goes to one of the trust’s sustainability advisors, who provide customised advice on the best ways to make water savings.

Watercare head of sustainability Chris Thurston says water is a precious resource that is a key part of our everyday lives. “We use water from the first time we wake up in the morning through to when we go to bed. We don’t always think about how much we use and the DIY interactive check is the perfect answer for understanding the amount we use and, more importantly, what we can do about it.

“The team at EcoMatters are experts in water efficiency and now their valuable information can be accessed by more Aucklanders who are keen to be waterwise. The current water supply situation is a perfect time for all of us to review our usage and make changes that will have a long-term impact. If we all make small changes it really does make a big difference.”

The online tool shows you how to check for leaks at the meter and measure the flow rate of your taps. It also asks a series of questions about your household and current water usage.

Myrthe says checking for leaks is one of the most important things all Aucklanders should be doing. “Leaks exist in all shapes and sizes. You could have a leaking mains pipe under your driveway or a dripping tap or leaking toilet cistern. They waste water and add to your water bill so it’s definitely worth checking and getting them fixed.”

The shower is another area where most Aucklanders are able to make significant water savings. “The easiest way to do this is to reduce your shower time, but you could also install a low-flow showerhead, and that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice pressure. Low-flow showerheads pull air into the water stream to give the same full pressure feeling while using a lot less water.”

A low-flow showerhead uses between 5 and 9 litres per minute, compared to the average of 12 litres. More than 800 Auckland households have benefited from in-home water audits since the Be Waterwise programme was introduced in 2015. The audits have contributed to an estimated 20 million litres of water savings and saved participating customers on average $85 a year.

So, jump online now and learn more about your household’s water use. Don’t waste another minute – or another litre.

Click here to meet sustainability advisor Kirstie MacDiarmid