Water wise: tips to save water at home

A raingarden in Boroondara

We’re working to save water and protect our waterways – and you can too.

Although we’ve had several wetter than average months over the past year, due to a longer-term trend of drier conditions it’s important that Council continues to prioritise effective water management. To do this, we’re working to increase water efficiency, reduce the use of valuable drinking water, and help protect our waterways.


A great example of a project that reduces our use of mains water and prevents pollutants from entering our waterways is the Gordon Barnard Reserve raingarden in Balwyn North. It receives stormwater runoff and treats it to remove pollution before it’s stored in an underground tank. After further filtration and UV treatment, it’s used to irrigate nearby sporting ovals. Similar projects have been completed at Grace Park in Hawthorn and Lewin Reserve in Glen Iris.


We typically plant our sportsgrounds with a mix of drought-tolerant grasses, and our watering schedule aims to ensure ovals aren’t irrigated before or after significant rainfall.

New plantings

We use recycled water to establish newly planted trees when possible, and mulch to retain moisture.

Tips to save water at home

Try these tips from our sustainability team and Teresa Day at Sustainable Gardening Australia:

  • Use a rake or broom to clean paths or driveways instead of water.
  • Avoid blowing leaves, grass cuttings, sand and mud into the gutter, so they don’t wash into local creeks, the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay.
  • Use a simple kit from a hardware store to divert water from downpipes to garden areas that need irrigation.
  • Water gardens first thing in the morning. This ensures excess water on leaves will evaporate, reducing infections such as mildew.
  • Water garden beds for longer, less often, to encourage deep root growth and improve plant resilience.
  • Hand watering is the least effective way to water. Invest in a drip-feed irrigation system, which allows consistent and effective watering to the roots.
  • If you must hand-water, do so close to the soil near the roots, not the stem.
  • Healthy soil can retain 10% more moisture than poor soil. Add organic matter like compost and aged manure at least once a year.
  • Apply mulch on top of your soil to reduce evaporation.

Water workshops

  • Water-wise gardening webinar: Hear more from Teresa Day from Sustainable Gardening Australia in our free webinar on Tuesday 20 September, 6:30pm to 8 pm.
  • Water Cycles kids’ workshop (ages 9 to 13): Thursday 22 September, 10am to 12pm at CERES Environment Park.
  • Family-fun frogging night: Join Melbourne Water at Willsmere Billabong on Friday 7 October, 7pm to 9pm.

Bookings are essential. For more information, visit our Sustainability page.