Sydney Water works with city high rise owners to significantly cut water bills

Owners and tenants at two Sydney CBD high rise apartment buildings - 'Windsor Plaza' and 'Museum Towers' have seen significant water and costs savings following the completion of Sydney Water’s WaterFix® Strata service.

The 154 apartment Windsor Plaza in Sussex St was originally built in 1987 and has witnessed a 34% reduction in water bills, saving the Body Corporate around $44,000 a year in water usage charges.

Museum Towers located in Castlereagh St in Sydney’s CBD was originally built in the late 1980s and the WaterFix program has led to a 27% reduction in water use, with savings at approximately $33,700 per annum.

Sydney Water Senior Project Officer Tony Robinson said, “The WaterFix program helps reduce customers’ water bills through the repair and replacement of leaking taps and toilets. We also replace old single flush toilets with modern dual flush models.

“The service, for eligible strata buildings, comes with the added incentive of a performance guarantee, where customers pay for the service with the savings that are achieved. This means that the customer pays nothing up-front for the service, but continues to pay their water bill at the same historical rate until the service is paid for. This normally takes around three years, after which time the strata committee will see significant reductions in their water bills”, said Mr Robinson.

Andrew Whittaker, Head of the Windsor Plaza Strata Committee said “initial reports showed that we were using 575 litres per bedroom per day on average across the 154 apartments which is excessively high. Typical use is between 200-300 litres."

“The 34% reduction in total water usage will save the Body Corporate at Windsor Plaza around $44,000 a year in water usage charges, plus there will be a significant reduction in hot water gas bills for apartment owners and tenants. The initial inspection by Sydney Water saw dripping taps and leaking toilets – which accounted for 28% of the total water consumption of the building. Total average water consumption before the WaterFix program was progressively increasing - there was a 10% rise from 1 January to 1 May this year.

The great project management by Sydney Water meant that the work took just two weeks to complete, which was absolutely outstanding. As soon as they had finished, the total water consumption plummeted from an average total daily usage of 184 kilolitres to 115 kilolitres per day. The cost of water use has dropped by about a third which is fantastic. Individual consumption of hot water has dropped significantly for people who had leaking hot water taps, and they are already seeing a reduction in their hot water gas bills. There is also less wear and tear on our pumps to pump water up to the header tanks and water heaters on the roof of the building. Our tenants are really, really happy with the way this has gone.”

Mr Whittaker added “with no upfront costs – the WaterFix program was a no brainer!”

In the case of Museum Towers, prior to the WaterFix service, average daily benchmark water use was recorded at 606 litres per bedroom per day. This amount was reduced to 441 litres per bedroom per day after WaterFix.

The 27% reduction in water use, providing a saving of approximately $33,700 per annum, doesn’t include the additional reduction in hot water gas bills for apartment owners and tenants.

Simon Ruben, Chairman of the Strata Committee at Museum Towers said we are very happy with the WaterFix program, particularly as there were no upfront costs involved to the Strata Committee and the tenants, which was the major attraction.

“Most of the water savings were achieved by fixing general leaks - there wasn’t one major contributing factor. The problem that we had as a strata is that tenants weren’t reporting leaking toilet cisterns or taps and over time that contributed to a significant waste of water.

There has been immediate cost savings in gas and electricity as collectively the building residents are using less water, which means less water needs to be pumped to the tanks which are all located on the upper floors and less hot water needs to be heated. The program was a lot easier than I expected. I predicted real problems with gaining access to the individual units, but the Sydney Water team did a fantastic job and completed all repairs very quickly”, said Mr Ruben.

WaterFix is about to be rolled out at a number of other high rise apartments in Sydney.

For more information, call Tony Robinson on 8849 5119 or email your contact details to waterfix@sydneywater.com.au