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Install water-efficient toilets
Toilets use a lot of water and the water we flush away is usually valuable tap water. Switching to a more water-efficient toilet will make a big difference to your personal water use and will help protect our future water supplies.
Water-efficient toilets do the same job as inefficient toilets but use much less water. Older model toilets can use up to 12 litres of water per flush, whereas dual-flush toilets use only 3 litres on a half-flush.
New toilets must have a Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme star rating to show how water-efficient they are. The more stars the more water efficient. Aim for a toilet with a minimum 3-star rating. There are also 5-star models that re-use water from a hand washing basin. The hand basin sits on top of the cistern and the water you wash your hands with is then used to flush your toilet.
The WELS Water efficiency page has additional purchasing, operating and maintenance tips.
- Help protect our drinking water supplies
- Help protect the health of our rivers and wetlands
- Save on household water bills
At a glance
- Savings 2
- Ease 2
- Impact 2
Check if you are eligible for rebates or assistance to install a water-efficient toilet. You may also be eligible for assistance from your local water authority. Check for any specific conditions that may make certain systems ineligible for financial assistance.
Work out which is the best toilet for your household. Consider the water-efficiency rating, whether you will replace the whole toilet or just the cistern or flushing mechanism and if you want to use rainwater or treated greywater to flush the toilet.
Waterless toilets (composting toilet) can be a good alternative. These toilets are particularly good for replacing septic tank systems in water-scarce areas. Many of the new composting toilets are well designed, and when working well and correctly maintained, do not have any unpleasant odours.
Use the WELS website lavatory product search to compare the efficiency and flow rate of different toilets before you buy a new one.
To achieve the highest efficiency and best value for money ask around for information and advice from a range of sources.
- Talk to several suppliers or manufacturers about your options before you commit to buying a new toilet.
- Check the warranties for different toilets as these can vary greatly.
- You may need a licensed plumber to install your new toilet. If so, talk to your plumber first to make sure that you get a toilet that's suitable for plumbing into your home.
Once you have chosen your toilet, your plumber will install it. Ask your plumber if there are any special maintenance requirements for the new toilet.
Over longer term, ensure you check for and fix leaking toilets immediately. A slow, barely visible leak can waste more than 4,000 litres per year. Visible, constant leaks can waste more than 96,000 litres.
You can check for leaks by placing a couple of drops of food colouring or dye into the cistern. If colour appears in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, then a leak exists and the system should be repaired.
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