Water efficiency tips

Water is a limited natural resource and businesses use about 25% of the water used in greater Sydney. Population growth combined with an increasingly variable and challenging climate means we all need to work together to use water more efficiently. 

Bottles on a procution line in a factory

Whether you're a big manufacturer or a small business, saving water makes good business sense.

Saving water makes good business sense

The value of managing water better goes beyond saving the cost of water on your bill. Managing your water use efficiently will:

  • save you money. As well as the obvious saving for the cost of water, there can be flow on savings for water, wastewater, trade wastewater, chemicals and energy. You can also save on maintenance costs and capital costs of equipment by managing water better

  • contribute to a sustainable environment by reducing demand for water from dams and rivers. You'll also discharge less wastewater into rivers and oceans

  • inspire your staff and build a culture of commitment, creating attitudes and business processes that improve morale and carry through to process improvements across your business. Improved corporate social responsibility leads to greater productivity

  • build your brand and improve your public image. This is especially important in drought conditions, when the community looks to big business to contribute. This can affect their purchasing decisions and your bottom line. 

  • If we all save a little, together we can make a big difference.

    Water restrictions are now in place
    Water restrictions target outdoor water use and apply to everyone across greater Sydney. However, we understand that some water use is critical for businesses. We work hard to balance the needs of businesses with the need to protect the water supply. See how water restrictions may affect your business and check whether you need to apply for a water restrictions exemption.

Tips to manage your water use


You can't manage any resource if you don't know how much you're using and where you're using it. Check:

  • the services you're connected to 

  • how much water you use overall

  • where you use water in your business and how much you use in each area

  • your business's benchmark for water use to see how much you should be using

  • how your water use affects other business costs, such as water treatment, wastewater treatment, power for pumping, heating or cooling, chemicals etc.

This will help you establish a water balance and pinpoint where water may be lost in your business.

We may be able to help with advice or assistance to implement online monitoring. Online monitoring helps you track your water use in real time from your mobile device.

Avoid

Avoid using water where you can. For example, sweep instead of washing down hard surfaces and avoid leaks by: 

  • investigating any changes in water use patterns that might suggest a leak

  • regularly checking equipment and fixtures that use water

  • replacing washers and seals yearly.

Find out more about leak prevention.

Reduce

Reduce your water use by:

  • installing water efficient appliances and equipment. Visit the Australian Government Water Rating website for details about the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.

  • sizing equipment appropriately. Bigger isn't always better. Not only will you use less water, you can reduce capital, operating and maintenance costs

  • reviewing cleaning and maintenance practices

  • reviewing irrigation practices.

Re-use

Re-use water from cooling towers or manufacturing processes to:

Recycle

Recycle water by treating re-use water to a higher level before use to :

  • irrigate playing fields or golf courses

  • control dust

  • in industrial processes

  • in cooling towers (a high level of treatment is required to reduce salts). 

Before recycling water, get professional advice and refer to the Australian guidelines for water recycling

As well as recycling water from within your business, consider using alternative water sources including:

  • rainwater

  • stormwater

  • bore water

  • treated wastewater .

If you're considering using rainwater, use our rainwater tank calculator to help you choose the best tank for your needs.

Find out more about producing recycled water.

Saving water is not a one-off event. You have to commit for the long-term for sustainable savings. You need to:

  • seek commitment from senior management to support the change and keep the company accountable

  • appoint someone to be responsible for leading the water saving plan, tracking use and reporting back to management 

  • make monitoring and managing water part of business processes. Set key performance indicators with meaningful targets for your industry and establish reporting processes as you would for other resources.

To realise the reputational benefits of saving water, you need to engage your staff and customer. You can:

  • provide incentives for staff to save water by linking water conservation to staff performance reviews

  • ask staff for water saving ideas – encourage them to send ideas via email or suggestion boxes. Start a discussion on internal social media pages. Follow up on ideas and report back on progress

  • include water saving policies and procedures in staff training programs and talk about water conservation plans, opportunities and progress at staff meetings

  • put up water conservation signs or posters in staff and public amenities

  • be proud of your water saving efforts and communicate your water saving ideas using social media, bulletins, newsletters, emails or posters.

What we're doing

We have a number of programs to help businesses save water. We're:

  • helping businesses develop water use plans as part of the requirements for water restrictions exemption permits

  • working with our major customers to implement targeted water conservation programs. Major customers can also discuss water efficiency with their Business Customer Representative over the phone or by requesting a relationship management meeting

  • piloting a Council Partnership Program to work with five councils across Sydney to monitor water use, conduct water audits for small to medium businesses and help them implement water saving opportunities

  • expanding our WaterFix® Strata program to commercial buildings, the education sector and aged care

  • developing a WaterFix® Small Business program pilot.
     
Monitoring meter, man with laptop next to water tank

Monitoring your water use can help you detect leaks early.