Shower Timer Campaign

As we are all aware, water (or the lack of it), has been a major environmental issue in South Australia in recent years. Reduced rainfall and heavy reliance on the ailing River Murray and Adelaide Hills flows is putting pressure on Adelaide's water supply. Water conservation can be a simple and affordable goal for any household. As a community, Burnside can make significant changes to the health of our precious water resources.

Why Your Four Minutes Matters

It takes just four minutes to change the world. Assumptions used in calculating savings:

Water Savings

  • An average shower uses 15 litres/minute (SA Water 2008).
  • The average person has a shower duration of 7 minutes. Shower timer duration is 4 minutes; saving 3 minutes shower time or 45 litres (QLD Government 2008).
  • The average Burnside household is made up of 2.36 people (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006).
  • Within Burnside there are 18,716 households (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006).
  • Savings equal 106.2 litres per house per day or 1,987,639 litres in Burnside everyday.
  • An Olympic swimming pool is 2.5 million litres. Burnside pool is estimated at 2 million litres.

Energy Savings (From Water Heating)

  • Energy savings assumes average household consumption of 16.08 kilowatt hour (kWh) per household per day (Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure - Energy Division 2008).
  • Around 35% (5.62 kWh) of this is used for heating water (Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure - Energy Division 2008).
  • Around 50% of this (2.81 kWh) is used in the shower (Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure - Energy Division 2008).
  • 1 kWh equates to 0.969 kg CO2e (Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure - Energy Division 2008).
  • Shower time cut by 42.8% (i.e. 7 to 4 minutes) saves 1.2 kWh per household per day or 426.6 kg CO2e per household per year.
  • In Burnside this is 7984.9 tonnes CO2e per year.
  • Conversion of CO2e to cars assumes 3240 kg annual Co2e for average petrol car per 15,000 km (average annual distance travelled) (Department of Climate Change 2008).
  • Burnside savings 7984.9 tonnes divided by 3.2 tonnes (average car) equals 2495 cars.


Water cost saved:

  • $1.16 per kilolitres (Current unit cost of water, assuming use of > 120 kL per year/household (SA Water).
  • $45 saving per household per year.
  • $814,566 savings in Burnside as a whole every year.

Energy cost saved:

  • $ 0.09 savings per household/day (assuming off peak power = 7.17 cents/kWh) (Energy Australia).
  • $ 31.57 savings per household/year (assuming off peak power = 7.17 cents/kWh) (Energy Australia).
  • $ 590,832.24 savings in Burnside as a whole every year.

Total savings for Burnside community is approximately $1,405,398 in one year.

Cost of design, production and distribution of shower timer packs was approximately $1 and potential savings on water and electricity per household is approx $77 per year with a saving of 427 kg of Carbon Dioxide (CO2e).

**NOTE: A margin of 10% or a 20-second leeway either side of 4 minutes can be offered by the shower timers.


  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2006, 'Census of Population and Housing', ABS, Canberra
  • Department of Climate Change 2008, 'Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator'
  • Department of Climate Change, Canberra, Online
  • Energy Australia, Energy Usage Guide, Online
  • Energy SA 2008, Water Heating, Online [5/2/2008]
  • QLD Water Commission 2007, Everyone can play a part in world water day, Press Release, [21 March 2007]
  • SA Water 2008, Your Bathroom, Online [5/2/2008]