Many people re-use the greywater from their bathrooms and laundries to water gardens. While this is a great option, it must be done with care to avoid damaging soil, plants or putting people at risk.

What is greywater?

Greywater is waste water generated from the bathroom and laundry basins, the showers, bath tubs and washing machine. It does not include kitchen greywater.

Greywater collection

There are a number of options, the easiest being collecting the water with a bucket or container. When it comes to greywater products there are three broad categories of systems from least to most complex. These are diversion only, diversion and filtration and diversion with treatment.

In Victoria you don't need a permit for the installation of diversion only system in a sewered area. In unsewered areas check with your local council on whether you need a septic tank alteration permit. Greywater treatment systems require EPA approval in both sewered and unsewered areas and must have a septic tank permit from the local council.

Greywater safety tips

  • Keep water safely out of reach of children, dogs and people and put it where it's needed by the plants - at the roots.
  • Avoid spraying or hosing with greywater - this spreads the chemicals and bacteria around and can burn the plants.
  • Irrigate you ornamentals and orchards, but not your leafy green edible plants.
  • Don't let the greywater run off your property to the street or your neighbours’ property.
  • Don't store greywater for more than 24 hours.
  • Use the safest source of greywater possible. The safest is from the rinse cycle in your washing machine, the wash cycle is the next safest, followed by bath or shower water.

Content courtesy of the Alternative Technology Association (ATA). For more information about greywater re-use visit

South East Water recommends that customers take care when carrying buckets of water to minimise risk of injury or pain.