| City dwellers often feel immune from the effects of drought. But the long dry has driven home to everyone the message that water is a precious resource.|
One result is that moves to incorporate water-saving technology into Australian homes are fast gathering pace: the trend towards single-lever mixers, for example, is not just about design, but also about the need to limit water flow.
Indeed, Australia's AAA water conservation rating system is currently under review, with manufacturers likely to be asked to build water flow technology into all tapware under a mooted five-star system for rating water efficiency.
"There's been a move over the past five or six years or so to build much more water conservation into taps," says David Greenwood, national sales manager, Starion Industries, Australian distributor for brands such as Hansa of Germany and KWC of Switzerland.
"It's where single-lever taps come into their own," he adds, "because generally it's very difficult to build water conservation into three-piece tapware. One of the principle advantages of single-lever mixers is that you can flow-limit the product."
Most products in the Hansa range, for instance, are designed so the internal ceramic disk cartridge can be preset to a certain water flow. "In a hand basin, you really don't need to use any more than 6L/min to wash your hands, whereas on a standard basin tap, the water flows at 10 or 11 litres per minute," says Greenwood.
The Hansa Eco control mechanism operates in two stages. About halfway up - when the water is flowing at about 5L/min - the user feels slight resistance. If the user needs more water - say, to fill a sink - they just push the lever above this point of resistance. "We want to give the user choice," says Greenwood.
Australasian manufacturer, Greens Tapware, employs a similar 'set and forget' mechanism. "You don't consciously have to ensure the water flow is adequate," says operations manager Phillip Jensen. "If the volume of water flowing out is restricted mechanically, water waste is dramatically reduced."