Understanding my water use


There are a number of factors that may cause your water bill to vary in consumption. Changes in season, automatic watering systems, extra people living in the house or an undetected water leak can all impact on your bill. It is important that if you are making comparison between your quarterly accounts that you look at consumption, rather than dollar figures. We include a graph on the back of your account to assist you in making these comparisons, or you can review your full usage history by logging in to epayplus.

Warmer seasons

Water use tends to increase over the warmer months, due to dryer conditions. So remember to compare your bill with the same time last year, rather than with your previous bill.

Automatic watering systems

Automatic water systems are the most common explanation for unexpected water use. Check if your automatic watering systems are operating and turn them down or off if you would like to reduce your water use. Please be aware that on average an irrigation system will use around 25 litres of water per minute, that’s 1500 litres of water in a one hour period! If you are planning a garden, or considering landscaping for recommendations on plants that require less water, and that are suitable for the Canberra climate, see the ACT Smart Canberra Plant Selector.

Extra people in the house

If you’ve had guests staying in your house it may have led to an increase in water use. Two extra people in your household can increase your water consumption by roughly 400 litres per day, which will add up if they stay for a week or two.


Leaks can occur anywhere on your property, they waste substantial amounts of water and may be hidden from view. A slowly dripping tap can lose about 5,000 litres of water over a three month period.

To check for leaks, make sure that there is no water being used within the house or in the garden. Record the water meter measurement numbers, then record again after a thirty minute period; if the dials have changed position, there may be a leak.  To find out more go to undetected leaks.

Read your meter

Another way of checking your water use is by reading your water meter regularly. You can detect any issues by reading your water meter frequently and calculating your own average daily usage. Be sure to take note of the flow indicator on your meter, if you are not using water and this dial is turning there may be a leak.

Not sure how to read your meter? Find out how.

What is the average water consumption?

The table below shows estimates of typical water consumption for common household uses.


Old Showerhead
Efficient Showerhead

12-15 litres per minute
7 litres per minute


Single Flush
Dual Half Flush
Dual Full Flush 

12 litres
3 litres
6 litres


Half full

 80 litres average
140 litres average


Brushing teeth/shaving with tap running
Brushing teeth/shaving with tap off
Hand basin

5 litres per minute
1 litre per minute
5 litres


Washing dishes by hand (one meal)
Old dishwasher
Modern dishware
Garbage disposal

18 litres
60 litres
18 litres
10 litres


Modern front loader
Top loader
Twin tub

60 litres
150 litres
70 litres


Washing car with a hose
Hosing driveway
Average size swimming pool

1000 litres per hour
200 litres per 12 minutes
75 litres per 5 minutes
20,000 to 40,000 litres


Dripping tap
Leaking/running toilet

30 to 150 litres per day
up to 700 litres per day

 *All figures are provided as an estimate

Still not sure about your water use? Check out the High Water Use Checklist