The NSW Government Sustainability Policy sets a statewide target to reduce water consumption by 15 per cent by 2010/2011. This commitment recognises that addressing climate change and becoming more water efficient are vital challenges for NSW and that NSW Government agencies can lead by example.
To improve water efficiency, begin by identifying potential water saving opportunities using the waste reduction mantra, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’.
It is important to make sure that you are only using water when and where it is required. This is the easiest and most cost effective way to reduce water consumption.
Technical options to reduce water wastage include:
- programmed maintenance to prevent or detect wastage and repair leaks quickly. This is particularly important for amenities and cooling towers
- installing monitoring systems to understand your consumption, detect wastage and leakage
- passive building design to minimise cooling load, such as natural ventilation and temperature control
- water conserving garden design to minimise irrigation requirements
- system and operations analysis to make sure devices are only used when needed, e.g. cooling towers only operating during work hours, understanding your irrigation requirements.
You can consider non-technical options as well
- education and communication programs for staff and visitors to encourage them to use water wisely
Most sites will have water-using devices that operate inefficiently or can be upgraded to a more efficient model. Opportunities to improve the water efficiency of devices include:
- Optimise cooling tower cycles and bleed rates and only run washing machines on full loads
- Upgrading outdated water consuming devices such as tap ware, urinals cisterns, cooling systems, washing machines, hoses and nozzles
- Purchase products and appliances that have a minimum 4-star WELS rating (Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards) or Smart Approved WaterMark standard for outdoor use
- Install waterless devices, such as urinals, air-cooled chillers
- Pressure reduction of mains, where practical.
Use an alternative source
Alternative water sources include rainwater, stormwater and recycled water. Generally, you can use these types of water where they are fit-for-purpose.
Alternative water supplies and applications include:
- Harvesting rainwater for toilet flushing, washing machines, cooling towers, irrigation
- Harvesting stormwater, which may need further treatment depending on the source, for irrigation, toilet flushing, cooling towers
- Recycling water on site, including greywater, process water or sewer-mining, using ultraviolet disinfection, membrane technology such as reverse osmosis, ultra or micro filtration treatment processes.
- Purchasing recycled water
Receive updates on water saving initiatives in the NSW Government by joining the Sustainable Government e-Newsletter mailing list. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to join.
Page last updated: 11 April 2011