Household and business water efficiency initiatives and programs to reduce water losses from the water supply system will continue to play a vital role in saving water. These programs would be expanded in a drought to try to achieve even more water savings.
The lower Hunter region now uses about the same amount of water on average as it did in 1970, although the population supplied by Hunter Water has grown by around 200,000. These savings have been achieved through a combination of user pays pricing, household water efficiency measures, and changes in water use by business and industry.
Water efficiency programs reduce the amount of water use by:
The national Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme (WELS) is also delivering ongoing improvements in water efficiency by encouraging household customers to buy appliances that use water more efficiently. The main savings have been achieved from more efficient showers, washing machines and toilets.
The Building and Sustainability Index (BASIX) is a planning policy that applies to all new homes and major alterations in NSW to reduce water and energy use. Homes can meet BASIX requirements by installing water-efficient appliances and installing a rainwater tank or connecting to a supply of recycled water.
During a drought, these water efficiency programs would be expanded to achieve even more savings to help water storages go further. Hunter Water would also expand programs to reduce losses from the water supply network through active leak detection and pressure management.