Water efficiency tips

What your business can do to save water

Water is a limited natural resource, and businesses use about 25% of the water supplied 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. Take a look, and see how your business can contribute.


Water Wise Guidelines apply to business, too

Water Wise Guidelines targeting outdoor use are in place across Greater Sydney. This includes businesses that provide outdoor services such as car-washing, even if they're in a building like a shopping centre car-park. We understand some water use is critical for businesses, and we work hard to balance the needs of businesses with the need to protect the water supply. The Water Wise Guidelines include specific exclusions for certain customer types.

 

Save water – it's good for business

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

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 and capital costs of equipment by managing water better.

Contribute to a sustainable environment
You'll help reduce demand for water from dams and rivers. You'll also discharge less wastewater into rivers and oceans.

Help inspire your staff
You can 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. Download our Seven-point plan for holistic water management (194KB).


Understand 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, and chemicals.

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.

Identify savings with WaterFix Commercial
Non-residential buildings can make huge savings through our WaterFix Commercial water-efficiency program. Government buildings, schools and universities, theatres, office towers, hotels, shopping centres, neighbourhood swimming pools ... we could go on. The process starts with a free desktop assessment.


Avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle

Avoid

Avoid using water where you can. For example, sweep instead of washing down hard surfaces. You can also 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

There are lots of ways to reduce your water use.

  • Install water-efficient appliances and equipment. Visit the Australian Government Water Rating website for details about the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.
  • Size equipment appropriately. Bigger isn't always better. Not only will you use less water, you can reduce capital, operating and maintenance costs.
  • Review cleaning and maintenance practices.
  • Review irrigation practices.

Reuse

Reuse water from cooling towers or manufacturing processes to:

  • flush toilets
  • irrigate gardens
  • suppress dust.

Reuse water must be fit for purpose. Consider getting professional advice, and refer to the Australian guidelines for water recycling.

Recycle

You can recycle water by treating reuse water to a higher level before it's used:

  • to irrigate playing fields or golf courses
  • to 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.

Find out more about producing recycled water.


Commit to saving water

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

  • 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.

Involve staff and customers

To realise the reputational benefits of saving water, you need to engage your staff and customers. Look at all the things you can do:

  • 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.

Find out how we can help

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

  • We work with our major customers to implement targeted water conservation programs. Major customers can also call their Business Customer Representative to discuss water efficiency or request a relationship management meeting.
  • We're piloting a Council Partnership Program to work with 5 councils across Sydney to monitor water use, conduct water audits for small to medium businesses and help them implement water saving opportunities.
  • We're piloting a WaterFix Small Business program to offer small businesses a water efficiency assessment and a range of water-efficient devices and fixtures aimed at reducing water use. Register your interest by emailing WaterFixSmallBiz@sydneywater.com.au, or contact your local plumber for water efficiency services.
  • We have our WaterFix Commercial water-efficiency program in place to help you identify area where you can save. 

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

Water balance

A water balance shows where water is used on your property and allows you to compare water intake with water discharged.

Treated wastewater

You need to check relevant health and environmental guidelines before using treated wastewater.