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Water »

[13 Jul 2009 | 10 Comments | ]

I somehow missed this announcement when it came out a couple of weeks ago, but Sydney Water are happier with dam levels and have eased their water restrictions.

They’re calling the new rules the “Water Wise Rules” – because we’ve all learned from the drought and heavy restrictions, and are now much more water wise.

The new Water Wise Rules allow:

Hand-held hoses, sprinklers and watering systems on any day before 10am and after 4pm. Hand-held hoses must be fitted with a trigger nozzle when watering. Children to play under the sprinkler on …

Growing Food, Water »

[1 May 2009 | 8 Comments | ]

In our never-ending quest for more gardening space, I’m thinking of building some raised beds on top of the concrete in our backyard. A 2-foot-deep bed around the edge of the area wouldn’t impact our usable space much (we already have pots etc all around the edges), but would give us a fair bit of extra growing space.

While I’m in the mood for building stuff, I thought water-efficient wicking beds might be a great way to go. It’ll be an interesting winter project anyway!

A wicking garden bed uses a waterproof …

Electricity, Transport, Waste, Water »

[13 Feb 2009 | 6 Comments | ]

If you live in Australia, did you know that you can now access green retrofits for your house for free?

Check out all the sustainable retrofit rebates available here in Australia. Make sure you scroll to the bottom and find your state ones, too.

You could get a rainwater tank, a solar hot water system, solar electricity, roof insulation or a number of other items.

OK, maybe I’m a bit cheeky calling this stuff ‘free’. Some certainly is (like the free roof insulation), but some you will still have to pay something for …

Water »

[11 Feb 2009 | 14 Comments | ]

Have a read of the current water restrictions rules from Sydney Water.

Kids can run under sprinklers any time of the day, you can hose windows and walls any time, and you can wash your car at any time. You can also leave your hose running unattended to top up pools or fill containers, and you can even fill pools under 10,000 litres without a permit.

But try to hose your tomatoes any day other than the dictated Sundays and Wednesdays, and then only before 10 or after 4, and you’ll be …

Electricity, Waste, Water »

[11 Feb 2009 | Comments Off on Know Your Government Rebates! | ]

You may have noticed that I’ve just added a new page to the menu bar above these posts, Australian Rebates.

I’ve tried to collect all the information I could find on Australian federal rebate programs, as well as all the different rebate schemes for the various states. There are a lot of good opportunities in there if you’re thinking of retrofitting some sustainable modifications to your house, so check them out and make sure you claim back what you’re entitled to!

The state-specific pages are: NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western …

Electricity, Water »

[7 Nov 2008 | 2 Comments | ]

Two of the most obvious things to look at when trying to live more sustainably are your usage of electricity and water. We had to record these in the first Super Challenge survey to set a baseline starting point, and I was actually pretty shocked at how much of each we use.

For the past quarter, on average we used about 40 kWh/day of electricity and about 850 L/day of water. The electricity is split between about 25 kWh/day of normal usage and 15 kWh/day of off-peak (i.e. hot water). Where …

Growing Food, Illawarra Businesses, Water »

[1 Nov 2008 | 4 Comments | ]

Yesterday we had our Sydney Water “Love Your Garden” session. For $33, a qualified horticulturalist comes and inspects your garden and gives you advice on its watering needs.

Our horticulturalist (let’s call her Linda) arrived bang on time. She was very friendly and knowledgeable, and understood right away where we were coming from. I explained about Sustainable Illawarra and what we were trying to achieve. Actually, she was really impressed with Kiama Council when I told her about the compost workshop last weekend, the free compost bin for participants, the subsidised …

Events, Growing Food, Super Challenge, Water »

[24 Oct 2008 | Comments Off on Opportunities | ]

I didn’t realise it until we signed up for the Sustainable Illawarra Super Challenge, but our local councils and other organisations put on quite a lot of free and low-cost workshops, talks, demonstrations, tours and other events. Just have a look at Sustainable Illawarra’s What’s On page to get an idea.

In the spirit of this Challenge, I’m planning to take advantage of as many of these sorts of opportunities as I can.

The first will be the Kiama Council Composting Workshop on Saturday. We’ve been composting all our organic waste for …