What do urinating on trees, reusing fish tank water and changing the way you shower all have in common?
They all feature in water-saving tips shared by everyday Canberrans as part of an Icon Water competition designed to spread the word about preserving our most precious resource.
Icon Water has flagged that water restrictions could be implemented within the year in the ACT, after a significant period of higher-than-average temperatures and lower-than-average rainfall. In December, dam levels fell below 50 per cent for the first time in 17 years.
Icon Water managing director Ray Hezkial said Canberrans could delay or possibly avoid restrictions by being conscious of their water use.
One of the first winners of the competition, Rivett man John White, said the way most people showered was simply wasting water.
Mr White said if you wet yourself and turned the shower off while lathering up, then rinsed and repeated, you could effectively clean yourself with only about five or six litres of water.
According to Icon Water, an efficient showerhead uses an average seven litres of water a minute, while older models use between 12 and 15 litres a minute.
"I used to go camping a lot and we had to take water with us in containers to wash ourselves because we weren't going to places with running water," Mr White said.
"I got pretty good at it and I felt really refreshed and clean.
"There is no need to stand under a constantly running shower, so you can do it at home as well."
Another of Mr White's tips that was uploaded by Icon Water to its competition website was a little more unusual.
He said those with a private backyard could consider "watering the trees" when going to the toilet.
Mr White said this not only saved the water that flushing a toilet would use - an average six litres for a dual half-flush - but also gave the trees additional liquid and nutrients.
"Every drop counts," Mr White said.
"We should all be thinking about what we can do to preserve water.
"We have to be careful and try and do something about [water scarcity] now before it's too late.
"We're living in a very dry country."
Another competition winner, Michael Tee, reckons there is about 75 litres of water in the three fish tanks and pond at his Palmerston home.
He said that for years he had changed over about one-third of the total capacity every week, meaning that by reusing the water, he saved about 25 litres weekly.
"I'm also a keen gardener, and I read a gardening article about using weaker fertilisers," Mr Tee said.
"That's when I thought of using the fish tank water. It was the best of both worlds."
While tank water needs to be changed in order to keep fish healthy, the dirty water removed from tanks is rich in bacteria and nutrients that are beneficial to ornamental plants.
Icon Water's water-saving tips competition runs until the end of February, with winners selected weekly. Details are available on the Icon Water website.