A PUDDLE: Leslie Dam drying up quicker than anticipated.
A PUDDLE: Leslie Dam drying up quicker than anticipated. Brice Morrish

Shocking water usage during extreme drought

CRACKS are showing in Warwick's resolve as extreme water restriction targets are deserted by residents.

Water usage in Warwick and Stanthorpe continues to float around the 200 litre mark per person, according to Southern Downs Regional Council CEO David Keenan.

The new figures, released during a community question and answer session with SDRC, reveal residents are using 80 litres more than target every single day.

"Lots of reasons have been hypothetically put forward," Mr Keenan said.

"But in the end, habits just need to change."

If water use continues at current rates, residents face drowning in fines from SDRC's 20 water patrol units working to enforce bans on outdoor watering of gardens, topping up pools and car washing.

The water use could also mean stricter, emergency level water restrictions introduced earlier, according to Mayor Tracy Dobie.

"We're encouraging people to monitor their water usage," she said.

"The next level is emergency which is only 80 to 90 litres per person, per day."

As Leslie and Connolly Dams dip to 6.5 per cent and 42.8 per cent capacity respectively, the Daily News researched a number of extreme water-saving techniques to help preserve the region.

Reuse shower water

SDRC is providing free shower timers and water efficient shower heads to cut down on the 19 litres per minute residents can use in the shower.

Maximise that water saving further by recycling it around the home.

Catch the fresh water in a bucket as you wait for it to heat up, then use it for plants or cooking water.

Once you begin showering, collect the water in the bathtub or other buckets to flush your toilets with.

An older flushing toilet can use up to 12 litres per flush that you'll be saving.

That means it would only take 10 flushes to use up your entire daily limit.

Shower smart

Let's be honest - You don't need the water running while you wash your hair, shave or brush your teeth.

Just turning off the tap as you work your shampoo into a lather can save up to 20 litres per day, saving you a sixth of your daily water usage.

Install a composting toilet

Why not forget the flushing all together and install a composting toilet?

It's one of the most effective ways to cut water waste from your bathroom and it keeps pollutants out of waterways, easing the strain on the water recycling facilities.

Modern composting toilets can be surprisingly sophisticated and with correct maintenance produce little to no smell.

Depending on where you live, restrictions may apply so make sure to check this first.

Use waste wisely

Rather than blowing your autumn leaves away or throwing them out, you can use them to create water-holding capacity in your soil.

Composting underneath mulch is incredibly effective and vastly reduces the need for water.

With every 0.1 per cent of organic matter added in an acre, you will create 100,000 litres of water storage.

Better yet, stop using water-sucking sink garbage disposal units and add your food scraps to the compost as well.

Watch your washing

Always remember to adjust the water level in your washing machine to match the amount needed for the load.

If your machine doesn't have that option, wait for full loads.

Washing clothes with cold water saves water and energy.

Finally, consider rerouting the waste water from your washing machine to use in your garden.

If you decide to collect this grey water, ensure you're using plant friendly laundry detergent and filtering it through something like pea gravel.

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