Community Water Survey 2009 results
A web-based survey was undertaken in May 2009 as a key part of the Water For Life education program. The survey enabled residents to have their say about water conservation issues and practical solutions. Results have been compared to a similar survey in 2007. Community participation was strong, with 233 people from a range of key demographics completing the survey, comparable to the last survey.
The survey findings are summarised below.
1. The importance of water conservation
Water conservation is still considered to be critically important or very important by the great majority (96%).
People are slightly less concerned about not having enough water in the future (91%, down from 98%). This may be due to water security efforts by Sydney Water and water recycling/efficiency projects by Council.
2. Knowing how to save water
Many agree that people need to know more on how to save water (68%, down from 74%).
3. Saving water in the home
Many agree that they can do more to save more (47%, up from 35%).
Generally attitudes are unchanged on the best ways to encourage water savings in Pittwater: the most favoured is community education/awareness (100%), followed by incentives/rebates (96%), water restrictions (93%) and water efficiency expert advice (83%).
Increased water prices is the least favoured option (64%).
4. Cost of water
Water is more highly valued. Many people believe that water is too cheap, and more people are now willing to pay more for water (54%, up from 41%).
Over 60% believe that increased water prices is a good way to reduce water use, but it was the least favoured option (see 3. above).
5. Who is responsible for saving water?
Over 90% believe that saving water is the shared responsibility of households, industry/ businesses and government.
However, there was a stronger belief that industry/ business should do more to save water, compared to households and government. This highlights a misconception as households consume some 85% of the water in Pittwater, business is a very minor consumer.
6. Knowledge of household water usage
Most people (about 90%) are aware of how much water their household uses.
Perceptions of water use in the average household are unchanged: most correctly identify the bathroom as the area of greatest use; and that more is consumed in the laundry than kitchen.
Most also incorrectly believe the garden to be the smallest area of water use (a typical Sydney household uses 25% of water in the garden, 49% in bathroom, 20% in laundry and 6% in the kitchen).
7. Household water conservation items & behaviours
About 97% of people are taking steps to conserve water (up from 91% in 2007). Many people (44%) plan to do more to reduce their water use.
Water-saving habits: Significantly more (10 to 15% more) people are implementing water saving practices (of primarily 3 types):
- Use a bucket not a hose to wash car
- wash car on lawn
- clean paths with broom not hose.
This may be due to recent years of level 4 water restrictions forcing these behaviours.
The top 4 practices which over 75% of people are using are:
- Doing full loads when washing
- turning off dripping taps
- sweeping leaves/dirt with broom and not using a hose
- shorter showers.
Water-saving items: More people (6-11% more) have installed water-efficient fittings (of primarily 7 types):
- Dual flush toilets
- tap devices
- washing machine
- drought-tolerant garden
- water tank or
- greywater diversion system.
The top 4 measures which over 70% of people have are:
- Dual-flush toilets
- drought-tolerant garden
- water-saving showerhead
- water-efficient washing machine.
8. Preferences for alternative sources of water for Pittwater
As in 2007, over 85% think that all alternative water sources are extremely important or very important – (except for greywater).
Those that rate the highest are recycled water schemes and stormwater harvesting for parks, industry or new housing developments.
Greywater rates the lowest, though it is of interest to more people (75%, up from 70%).
Interest is decreasing in rainwater tanks (86%, down from 93%).
9. Interest in more local information and events:
Residents are keen for more local information and events on water issues:
- 63% would like to see a local demonstration site on water and energy efficiency (the Coastal Environment Centre currently demonstrates solar power and energy efficiency)
- 79% would like to see local case studies on saving water; 24% would be willing to be interviewed about their water conservation
- 54% would like to know about future community events in water conservation
- Though many had not yet looked at Council’s website for water conservation information, of those who did 93% are satisfied that it meets their needs. This is now the most comprehensive Council website on this issue of all 15 Sydney Coastal Councils.