Eoin Cameron on Water

How long do you spend soaping up in the shower?

Half a million tonnes of water is pumped into Perth every day. Much of it is used in the shower and much of it is wasted. I've become the shower sergeant, my uniform a raincoat, ready to get wet and wage war on the water wasters. Right, this is where we get to the serious part. We've got six volunteers to take a shower for us today and we're going to time them. Ladies and gentlemen, start your showers.

Whilst our showerees are doing their thing, let's visit the scene of the crime. This is biggest offending room in the average home, isn't it, the bathroom. I had a look at leaky places in the home with Water Corp's John Brennan. "An average shower you might use 70 litres a shower. If you have a bath, you're going to be using twice that amount of water".

Leaving the tap on while brushing your teeth or shaving for instance then you're wasting 18 litres in two minutes. Slap me on the back of the hand. What would you do instead? Fill a mug or at least put the plug in the basin and use the water in the basin.

Back in the bathroom, our speediest showerees have already given all the crooks and grannies a good scrub and they're out.

2 minutes 40 seconds = 32 litres of water.

3 minutes 45 seconds= 45 litres of water.

4 minutes 30 seconds = 54 litres of water

The average family uses the toilet about 10 times a day. If you add that up over a year, that's about 50,000 litres of water. What about the dual flush in the modern toilet? They are much more effective. They will still flush about 15,000 litres but very much more efficient than the single flush.

Now the second biggest offender as far as water usage goes is the laundry unsurprisingly. All of that virtually used in the washing machine and in fact an old inefficient top-loading machine can use 40,000 litres of water a year, a swimming pool full, a whole swimming pool full, whereas a new modern four-star front-loader will only use 20,000 litres a year.

About how much water is used in cooking in a kitchen in an average day? Over a hundred litres amazingly enough. Fill up the jug and put it in the fridge because that means you'll be getting cold water all the time rather than waiting for cold water to come through the tap. What about washing vegetables, that sort of thing? Make sure you put the plug and rinse them in the sink itself because whilst the tap's running, you're using six litres a minute. The dishwasher, is that a big offender? A modern four-star dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes in the sink. Is that a fact? Just look for the four stars.

Meanwhile in the shower block, some are still luxuriating and getting themselves into a lather!

5 minutes= 60 litres of water.

Finally the 20-minute shower lover Donna emerges from her steamy cubicle.

Donna, you took a quarter of your normal showertime today. That used 60 litres of water. Normally at home you'd use 240 litres of water. Have you even thought about the amount of water going down the plughole? I do and I do sometimes try to cut down. Sometimes I'll turn the shower off while I'm detangling my hair and just turn it on for a little bit of extra water. So I'm conscious that my showers are way too long.

While many of us struggle to drink a healthy two litres of water a day, we love to drench ourselves in more than 200 litres in the shower.

Steven McKieran, from the WA Conservation Council, says our water gluttony is costing us dear. "Looking at how we use our water and where the water comes from. It's getting into more and more environmentally sensitive areas and we've got to be very careful to look after this very precious spot of WA, the south west corner in particular."

You can really see the benefit of reducing the amount of time you actually spend in the shower. After two minutes, you're clean anyway, let's face it. After a drill from the shower sergeant, my conservation cadets will be scrubbing up quick smart!