Sydney Water has released a new tool to promote sustainable water usage, following new research on the city’s showering habits.

The digital Water Wise Coach will help raise awareness in the Greater Sydney community about the importance of water conservation amidst drought conditions in New South Wales.

Spending more time at home has brought about big changes to daily routines and new Sydney Water research reveals the shower has become a sanctuary for over half of Greater Sydney (54 per cent).

The research*, commissioned by Sydney Water, shows Sydneysiders devote on average nine minutes to showering every day – more than twice the recommended water wise limit of four minutes – and use enough water to fill 155 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

In the wake of Greater Sydney’s worst drought on record, Sydney Water hopes its Water Wise Coach will help Sydneysiders become more water efficient by understanding how their habits translate into water usage.

Accessed via Sydney Water’s Facebook chat or the Messenger plugin on the website, the tool asks users to complete a short four-minute survey in exchange for a personalised Water Wise Plan.

Maryanne Graham, General Manager Customer, Strategy and Engagement at Sydney Water, said the tool will provide information about water usage.

For example, every minute in the shower uses 10L of water; and when people turn the shower on and walk away to do something else, even more water is being wasted.

“We understand that people view and experience water differently and it’s clear from our research that the shower is a sanctuary for many people, particularly during this stressful time,” Ms Graham said.

“We also know our customers value and appreciate our water supply and want to do the right thing, so we want to give them the tools they need to better understand their household water consumption.

“The Water Wise Coach can help them reduce their water usage and their bills while also helping us sustain our most precious resource.

“As we’re only beginning to recover from the worst drought in our history, it’s important we don’t forget these recent events and keep making healthy water habits part of our everyday lives.”

State of drought in Greater Sydney
  • In January 2020, Greater Sydney experienced one of the worst droughts on record and some of the lowest inflows into its catchment dams since before 1940
  • 100 per cent of Greater Sydney was in drought, encompassing Northern Sydney, Inner Sydney, Western Sydney, Blue Mountains and Illawarra communities
  • The rain event that swept the east coast of NSW between 7-9 February increased dam levels by almost 40 per cent
  • Greater Sydney dam levels are currently at 81.9 per cent but we know they can deplete quickly during drought
  • Sydney, Blue Mountains and the Illawarra areas are experiencing Level 1 water restrictions to continue to protect Greater Sydney’s water supply from drought conditions
Findings on Sydneysiders’ water usage
  • Almost half of greater Sydney are listening to music (42 per cent), watching TV (14 per cent), catching up on podcasts (ten per cent), and FaceTiming friends and family from the shower
  • Sydneysiders spend 7.9 minutes on average grooming in the shower, including using body scrubs (54 per cent), exfoliating (41 per cent), using face masks (23 per cent) and body oil (22 per cent)
  • While a third (33 per cent) of couples are getting closer and doubling up on their showers (with ten per cent admitting to taking longer than 30 minutes), many people are heading to the shower to avoid run-ins with family, partners and housemates (27 per cent)
  • People are heading to the shower to ponder over important life decisions (44 per cent), plan for a work meeting (17 per cent) or a tricky conversation with a loved one (22 per cent)
Water wise tips
  • Keeping your showers to just four minutes or less is one of the best ways to be water efficient
  • Use the half flush on the toilet when possible
  • When you’re around sinks and wash basins, be mindful and make sure that the tap is never left running

*Sydney Water research conducted by Kantar in February 2020, surveying 1,015 Greater Sydney residents aged 18+.

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