RUNNING OUT: Residents are being urged to cut back on water use as drought continues to ravage the region.
RUNNING OUT: Residents are being urged to cut back on water use as drought continues to ravage the region. Contributed

How far can 200L of water a day actually stretch?

THE region, like most of the state, is in the midst of the worst drought seen in decades and residents are being urged to adhere to water restrictions to save every precious drop.

The Southern Downs Regional Council brought in medium-level water restrictions in May, but this month the council has warned residents to brace for high-level water restrictions that will be enforced in early November.

As it stands at medium level restrictions, each resident is advised to use 200L of water each day.

Racking up this total amount of water could happen quicker than some people think.

Here's how scarily easy it really is to reach that total:

1. Showering for 10 minutes

A standard shower can use 20L of litres of water each minute, so standing under the hot water for 10 minutes is a quick way to hit the 200L mark.

A three-star rated shower head will use no more than 9L each minute, but it's still a good idea to keep showers short to keep those totals down.

2. Washing dishes under running water

A running kitchen tap can use up to 15L of water a minute.

So washing dishes or vegetables under a tap for just over 13 minutes is a quick way to reach your total.

If you can, use a 5-star water-efficient dishwasher, it'll use as little as 7L each cycle whereas non-efficient dishwashers use up to 25L each cycle.

3. Ignoring a dripping tap

Leaking pipes and dipping taps can waste up to 10,000L of water each year, which works out to 27L each day.

Although it might not be your full total, it does take a big chunk out of your daily water allowance.

4. Overlooking a leaking toilet

A visibly leading toilet can waste more than 90,000L of water every single year.

So every single day that toilet will waste 246L every day, above and beyond your daily total.

If you want to keep showering, brushing your teeth and washing the dishes, you'd better get on the phone to the plumber.

5. Watering the garden with sprinklers

Even a water-efficient sprinkler racks up the litres quickly, using up to 9L of water each minute.

This means after just more than 22 minutes of watering, you will have reached your target.

The council has set strict time guidelines for properties wishing to water the garden, but if you also wish to shower that day it might be something to reconsider.

How to save water:

1. Check your rates notice or water meter to find out how much water you actually use, then you can give yourself an accurate idea of how much you need to cut down.

2. Install a water-efficient shower head, they're available free through the council.

3. Use a bucket to catch water in the shower as the water heat warms up, this can then be used on the garden.

4. Turn off the tap when brushing teeth and shaving

5. Refrain from using the washing machine every day and put on a couple of larger loads throughout the week instead.

6. Only use the dishwasher when it has a full load and scrape plates clean or soak rather than rinsing under the tap.

7. Fix leaks in taps or pipes to prevent slow release of water.

8. Water by hand if you have to at designated times to make sure plants get just the right amount of water and it's directed to the roots rather than the leaves and flowers.