TIDY TOWNS TIPS WATER CONSERVATION AWARD The single most important element of sustainability in Australia is water – without water there is no community. This category assesses water management planning, local government liaison, education and awareness programs related to water, community involvement and developing innovative methods of water harvesting, recycling and reuse. With a 10 – 15 per cent decrease in rainfall since the mid 1970s there is an urgent need to become smarter in the way that we use and reuse our water. Rivers, creeks, wetlands and groundwater are not only important to the people that live around them, but are the basis of life itself for all plants and animals. As for other category awards, try to get as many different people involved from the community as you can, ensure you record a mixture of projects coordinated by several groups, and tell the judges when they visit your town. For example, the local shire, business, industry, households, community groups and schools may have water conservation projects that could easily be incorporated into an entry. PROJECT IDEAS Consider getting a waterwise specialist to help you save with qualified advice on waterwise products and services. Visit the Water Corporation website to find a contact near you. Work with your local government or the Water Corporation to see how you can put a water conservation management plan together for conserving water in your community and change behaviour. Gather waterwise information from Department of Water and Water Corporation websites and promote these initiatives to your community e.g. government rebates and the H2ome Smart Program. Promote water saving ideas and rebates on community notice and bulletin boards. Promote existing education programs like the Water Corporation Council’s Program or their Target 60 campaign (which encourages individuals to use only 60Lwater daily). Encourage any major plantings in your town to include native plants adapted to rainfall in your area, so they don’t require additional watering. Practice mulching and subsoil reticulation. Try innovative ways to trial watering plants in areas where reticulation is not an option. Apply for a grant to fund a water conservation garden. Look at ways of decreasing the loss of water from tanks or dams through evaporation. Investigate water harvesting options such as storm water run-off, roof run-off or catchment areas that can be used to collect water for gardens. Consider installing grey water treatment systems. Encourage use of grey water pipes from washing machines to water lawns, installation of water saving showerheads and shower timers; slow flow taps or aerators; and other water saving devices like Chilli Pepper pumps that recycle cold water. Run a short shower campaign. Encourage the community to take 3 minute showers, register, calculate savings and watch the water savings you make as a community Find out if your school is participating in the in Waterwise Schools Program or conducting a water audit. Encourage local businesses to have a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP). Templates are easy to download from the Water Corporation website. Encourage householders to do their own water audits of their homes by using the Water Wise Calculator on the Water Corporations website. *Please note these are examples only and are not essential.* JUDGE’S TIP: To demonstrate and monitor your outcomes, conduct water audits and record and measure the litres of water you are saving, recycling or reusing. Keep a copy of all publicity, media coverage and letters received in relation to your projects to show judges the progress you have made. ONLINE RESOURCES Both the Department of Water and Water Corporation websites provides useful resources for communities including waterwise tips, fact sheets on waterwise garden designs, rebates for water saving devices. The online State Water Strategy may be a useful tool when planning waterwise strategies for your town.