Is there a difference between water efficiency and water conservation?

Often the terms water efficiency and water conservation are used to mean the same thing. For this project, when we say 'water conservation' we mean projects that save drinking water: 

- Managing leaks – water lost from pipes before it reaches our customers 
- Recycling of wastewater and stormwater harvesting - providing treated water that is "'it for purpose'
- Water efficiency – helping our customers achieve the same level of satisfaction while using less water (e.g. watering your lawn in the morning or evening, rather than the middle of the day when more of it evaporates).

Does all water recycling save water?

Using recycled water can help secure our water supply if it's being used for something which previously used drinking water (e.g. using recycled water instead of drinking water to flush toilets). 

Sometimes recycled water is used instead of groundwater or river water. A good example is irrigation of some crops and open spaces like golf courses using treated wastewater from Hunter Water's plants. In these cases, the water recycling is not saving drinking water but it can still be worthwhile because: 

- it's largely independent of weather conditions, providing a secure water source even in times of drought  
- additional nutrients in the water reduce the need to add fertilisers 
- it reduces the amount of treated discharge from wastewater treatment works into creeks and rivers.

Why are there separate places on this website to make comments on 'Securing our water future' and 'Conserving water'?

A key consideration in securing our water supply is conserving water. Securing our water future will be used to help update the Lower Hunter Water Plan. The plan considers how much water we need in the future to meet the aspirations of our region, how we can provide a robust system that withstands shocks and stresses, and the full range of supply and demand options to meet the needs of our community.

We've provided you with this separate place to comment on aspects of water conservation that relate to our regulatory requirements. We welcome your feedback and will share your views across all relevant projects.