Costa Georgiadis launches Water Night 2023 calling on Australian households to think twice before reaching for the tap
Nine in 10 Australians (91%) are concerned about saving water, more than biodiversity (85%), reducing carbon emissions (80%) or climate change (77%), yet good intentions are failing to translate into action for the majority, new research shows.
The national data released by The Water Conservancy ahead of Water Night on 19 October – when households are encouraged to turn off non-essential taps for the evening – reveals a nation acutely aware of water scarcity and ready to do its part, but unclear on the everyday actions that impact.
As the study shows, nearly seven in 10 (68%) correctly agree that the world faces major water shortages within the next two decades unless water is drastically reduced.
Further, over three-quarters (77%) rate themselves as being knowledgeable about water usage, including one in five (19%) who believe they are extremely knowledgeable.
Over nine in ten (92%) agree that it is necessary to limit water usage in the event of a drought, a concern likely to be heightened as Australia braces itself for another El Nino event – bringing intensified heatwaves, more severe bushfires and drought conditions.
Ready to do their part, an overwhelming nine in ten nationwide (89%) say they either presently limit their water usage or intend to do so in the future, and nearly all (97%) say they commit to or try to commit to day-to-day behaviours to support a healthy environment.
However, while awareness is high and intentions good, the study reveals a lack of understanding around the small changes that can make a big difference when it comes to saving water everyday.
Less than half (46%) keep showers for less than five minutes, fill up the washing machine (49%) or dishwasher (42%) before they go on. Only four in 10 have installed water efficient taps and shower heads (41%) or avoid washing up under taps (39%). The most common consistent water habit is checking for leaks in taps, pipes and toilets but still only committed to by just over half (54%).
In response, Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis is calling on Australians to join Water Night on 19th October 2023. Run by The Water Conservancy, the annual event now in its fourth year, asks individuals and households to turn off all non-essential taps from 5-10pm in support of stronger action on climate change, increasing water awareness and driving long term behaviour change.
CEO of The Water Conservancy, Chris Philpot, said the research highlights a gap between what people think they know, best intentions and what they do, when it comes to water usage.
“It’s clear from our research that the majority of Australians are concerned about the environment and water supplies, yet unaware of the daily micro habits that all add up when it comes to saving water and helping protect our precious environment,” said Mr Philpot.
He continues, “Most of us are unaware how often we reach for our taps. Water Night creates an opportunity to check in on this and encourages people to learn new ways to be more sustainable with their usage. As we head into a summer with increased drought risk, alongside sky-high cost of living pressures, it’s a no-brainer that saving water is just good sense for our planets and pockets.”
Long running campaign ambassador, Costa Georgiadis, and his Gardening Australia colleague, Sophie Thomson, are just two of many high-profile Australians already registered to take part in this year’s Water Night and encouraging others to join.
Costa Georgiadis, said: “If you care about our planet, I encourage you to sign up for Water Night. It’s a simple but incredibly effective way to come together and commit to improving our collective water awareness, because knowledge is power. Each one of us has the ability to make a positive impact and save more water - Water Night is a great way to kick start that journey,” Mr Georgiadis said.
The good news is that Australians are responding positively to the government's Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme, designed to help people save money on their water and energy bills by making informed choices about the water efficiency of products they’re buying.
Over four in five (83%) Australians have embraced the scheme, with almost half (47%) saying they use it all the time, while over a third (36%) saying they use it sometimes.
Additionally, half (50%) of Australians are aware of The Water Conservancy’s independent Smart Approved WaterMark scheme, with four in five (85%) of those using it saying they trust it.
Sign up for Water Night on 19 October 2023 at https://waternight.com.au/.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
About the Report
Aussie Intentions. Are They Enough? Australia's Water Literacy Tested, published by The Water Conservancy, October 2023
Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Water Conservancy between 21 and 28 August 2023, comprising a nationally representative sample of 1,573 Australians 18+ years.
*Older Australians are more likely than the younger generations to say they adopt most of these habits, including checking for leaks in taps, pipes and toilets (Baby Boomers: 67%, Silent Gen: 75%, compared to Gen Z: 35%, Millennials: 40%) and always filling up the washing machine before it goes on (Baby Boomers: 55%, Silent Gen: 59%, compared to Gen Z: 42%, Millennials: 44%)
About Water Night (Thursday 19 October 5pm-10pm)
Water Night has been an ongoing annual, national event for 3 years with 10,000 people having participated so far who have shown a 24% increase in water literacy and a further 18% increase in knowledge about water used for everyday tasks. Water Night is sponsored by the Australian Federal Government – the Department for Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water, Sydney Water, The Water Services Association Australia, Tamworth Regional Council, Dubbo Regional Council, Tweed Shire Council, Rous County Council, Midcoast Council and Power and Water Corporation. More details about this initiative at https://thewaterconservancy.org/water-night/
About The Water Conservancy
The Water Conservancy, a not-for-profit organisation that provides independent water
efficiency expertise, facilitation and excellence to create a more conscious and efficient
approach to water use in Australia. To learn more, visit https://thewaterconservancy.org/