Our water is too precious to waste, so it is up to everyone to use it wisely.

Why saving water is important

Christchurch City has one of the highest quality natural water supplies of any city in the world. Purification occurs naturally by water filtering through layers of gravel that form the underground aquifers.

As demand on the aquifers increase, we are approaching the time when we will be using water at a rate greater than the aquifer recharge rate. This means that we are reaching the sustainable limit of our underground water resource. If we reduce the level and pressure of water in the aquifer, water could become contaminated. It's up to us to maintain a sustainable level of water use and preserve this natural and precious resource.

Every day we need water to drink, brush our teeth, wash dishes, flush the toilet and water the garden. As we continue to use water each day, if we are not careful in the way we look after our supplies of fresh, clean water, one day we could run out.

Most of us have no idea how much water we use or where it goes after we turn on the tap. 

The amount of water we use varies largely, depending on the time of year, temperature and time of day. The largest demand for water typically occurs around 9pm on a hot summer evening, mostly due to garden watering. The least daily peak flow is in winter at breakfast time.

Water saving tips


Photo of a hand turning a tap

  • Rinse or peel vegetables in a bowl or sink filled with water instead of running the tap – you could save up to 10L every minute
  • Wait until you have a full load before starting your dishwasher. When possible, use the eco-setting
  • Run the waste disposal unit only when full or at the end of cooking or cleaning up
  • Rinse dishes in a sink filled with water, rather than under a running tap
  • Keep a jug of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap water until cold
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruit and vegetables, and then reuse it to water houseplants.


  • Turn off the tap when cleaning your teeth or shaving - you could save 10L of water a minute
  • Reduce your shower time to three minutes or less
  • Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors
  • Keep baths to a minimum
  • Check your toilet for leaks. Put a few drops of food colouring in your toilet tank. If it appears in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that needs repairing.
  • Every time you flush the toilet you use 13L–20L of water, so make sure you only flush when you need to.


  • Wait until you have a full load before starting your washing machine or use the partial load settings
  • Replace washers on dripping taps
  • Turn off all taps when not in use.


Photo of a hose watering some plants

  • Choose your plants to suit your garden's conditions. Choose drought tolerant plants for dry areas. This reduces the need to water as often.
  • Use mulch to keep your garden cool and moist
  • Every year, put new potting soil and water retaining crystals in pots and baskets. You won't have to water so often. Dry potting mix becomes water repellent.
  • Set your lawn mower to leave grass slightly longer. Short grass dries out sooner.
  • Water your garden once every few days, when the soil is dry or just moist. Use a trowel to dig down and check your soil moisture. This encourages roots to go deeper for water and become more tolerant of hot dry days. Save water by only watering the garden when it needs it.
  • Water at cooler, less windy times of the day, in the morning or evening, to minimise evaporation and water wastage
  • Target the plants you want to water. Don't water paths and drives.
  • Briefly submerge your pot plants in water during dry weather. This ensures water reaches all of the soil and roots.
  • On hillside gardens don't apply water faster than it can get into the soil. Small amounts of water will penetrate the surface.


  • Do not hose down paths and driveways; use a broom
  • Check taps and your water meter for leaks. View some useful tips on how to do this.
  • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants
  • Wash your car with a bucket of water on the lawn and you'll water your lawn at the same time
  • Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or the Council
  • Use water-efficient, hand-held gun nozzles on your hoses
  • Wash your pets outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.