We love to get out bills! Each water or electricity bill shows us that what we are doing is working.
All of our efforts at Ligaya Garden have been successful if we look at these two common indicators.
For this post, I’ll look at how your water bill in South Australia works. The electricity meters are to be read this week, so I’ll post on the power bill soon.
Just a note though the water bill doesn’t reflect the actual amount of water we use because we have 6000 litres of tank storage. Rather, it shows a steadily decreasing dependence on town water use.
This post and the upcoming one on power will guide you through how you can tell if your efforts at reduction are working.
We haven’t sacrificed any of our luxuries, we consider our appropriate lifestyle to be stimulating and exciting.
We watch TV, have Netflix and Stan, regular hot showers and great food. Jelina and Marlon are nocturnal, so there are lights, computers and heaters on over Winter. We also work hard to keep Athena heated to her acceptable levels. In short, we don’t miss out on anything that we can think of!
The 1200W dog in her full glory
We all know that every year, the weather is getting tougher to garden with. Even the gubberment knows it but won’t publicly admit to it. Even climate change deniers on Facebook complain about the weather extremes, they just haven’t put 2 and 2 together yet. Maybe they’ll catch up one day?
We all know that this has been a particularly dry Winter. Summer was a scorcher but we still manage to keep the bills on a roughly downward trend (the last power bill did spike a little – an extra 300W per day) but when you consider the weather, that’s not too bad.
If you weren’t aware, here in SA, your water bill shows a few key things that you can use to measure your progress. Here’s how to decipher it, rather than just pay it.
First is the graph shown in the pic below, that’s on the front page. That roughly compares your daily water use for the same billing period each year over the last few years. The graph is in multiples of 100 litres.
Water use graph in divisions of 100l
Then, on the second page is the actual use and the cost. It is poorly divided into 4 columns for each meter you have.
The first column is the meter number, the second is how much you used in the previous billing period. Third column is the reading for this bill. The 4th is what you’re being billed for.
I can never get columns 3 and 4 to match!
The fun bit is on the back page. It shows your average daily use in actual litres. Hers, ours is 230 litres per day.
Below this is a chart where you can compare that number with other customers based on the number of persons in the house, garden size and the ranges of use each day for the garden size based on the number of people in the house. It’s based on averages from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
We’re way under the average shown. Our 3 people and a Labrador with a small garden could be using 270 to 305 litres a day. We came in at 230!
If we just work by physical garden size, as the statistics do, we have no garden. The chart shows that ABS and SA Water definition of ‘small’ is 400 Sq metres.
We have about 80 sq metres of gardening space (if you include the aquaponics) and our whole block is about 360 all up. If we define ourselves as ‘none’ for the garden size according to those esteemed bodies, we still only just come into the range they give for a 3 person house with no garden, which is 220 – 305 litres per day.
For us, though, that’s ‘no garden’ that provides us with about 70% of our food, plus shelter and climate control.
You can have more fun by comparing your household use with other homes with a different family size or number of dwellers.
Remember that anything from the ABS is subject to interpretation and that no statistics are ever final. But have fun with these figures on your bill. If you rent and don’t pay your water bill yourself, as your landlord. I’m sure they will be happy to share the info, after all, it will decrease their costs too.