A proactive approach to water management will help avoid leaks and inefficiencies that can waste water and energy.

Leaks waste water and cost your business money. They can also contribute to higher energy and discharge factor costs, as well as potential equipment or facility damage.

Check for leaks

It’s best to complete this test overnight, when most water using systems are turned off:

  • In the evening, turn off any water using systems, such as irrigation. If you have processes that use water overnight make a note of these and their expected water use.
  • Read your meter by recording the black (kilolitres) and red (litres) numbers from left to right.
  • Read your meter again first thing in the morning.
  • If the numbers have changed or you have unexplained water use (that is not the result of overnight water using processes), you may have a leak and further investigation may be needed.

Download our meter reading template

Visible leaks

Look for:

  • Dripping taps
  • Sticking buttons on toilet cisterns
  • Check seals in urinals that no water is running
  • Wet areas when no water is being used in the vicinity, for example, pooling water on the ground
Hidden leaks

Look for:

  • Grounds that are much greener than surrounding areas
  • Areas of lawn that are very spongy
  • Wet areas in paving cracks don’t dry out
  • Pressure leaks – may be visible only when plant or equipment is operating
Maintenance

Your maintenance program should include regular checking of all water using devices, including:

  • Storage tanks
  • Irrigation systems
  • Wet areas (kitchens, amenities, laundries)
  • Devices that use a float valve to shut off water supply, such as evaporative air coolers, cooling towers, pool balance tanks and irrigation tanks.

General cleaning can account for up to 50% of your facility’s water use, depending on the industry. Ensuring your cleaning practices are water efficient is the efficient way to reduce this.

Here’s how:

  • Use a broom or mop to clean floors, instead of a hose (this will also reduce your discharge costs)
  • Use mops and wet/dry vacuum cleaners to prior to necessary wash downs
  • Sweep or use garden blowers on paved areas, instead of a hose
  • Use signage to remind staff of water efficient cleaning methods
  • Incorporate water efficient cleaning methods into work instructions
  • To gain support for water efficient behaviours be sure to outline the need and reasons for change, for example to reduce water and energy use, which will achieve financial and environmental benefits.

Improved awareness of water efficient behaviours among staff and customers can lead to significant reductions in water use.

To gain support from staff and customers be sure to outline the need and reasons for change, for example to reduce water and energy use, which will help us achieve environmental and financial benefits.

Encourage water efficient behaviours

Provide simple instructions near water using equipment:

  • How to report leaks and faults
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off taps when not in use
  • Don’t flush rubbish down the toilet to save water and prevent blockages

Consider if instructions in other languages may be relevant for your staff and visitors.

Establish a water efficient culture

Here are a few ideas:

  • Appoint a waterwise champion or team
  • Promote your commitment to sustainability with signs, newsletters, posters and banners
  • Train staff to operate water using appliances efficiently
  • Hold competitions promoting water efficiency ideas
  • Discuss water efficiency at meetings
  • Incorporate water efficiency practices in induction materials
  • Ask security staff to check meters during off peak times to help detect unusual water use
  • Reward staff for showing leadership in water conservation

Request promotional materials

For a list of our free waterwise materials please email water.efficiency@watercorporation.com.au.

A leaking water storage tank can cause reduced water pressure or no water. To prevent this remember to regularly check it for leaks.

Making sure it’s in good working order will prevent high water bills and repair costs associated with water leaks.

Appoint an on-site maintenance person to carry out daily visual checks, looking for:

  • Leaks
  • Pooling water
  • Rust spots
  • Worn seals

Other things to consider

If your tanks are fitted with float valves be sure to inspect them regularly. A faulty float valve can cause your tank to fill continuously, with excess water running straight to waste.

Consider installing a sub meter on your storage tanks and monitor water use through daily meter readings. Investigate unexplained increases in water use straight away; as it could indicate a leak. Your plumber will be able to advise you on whether sub-metering is suitable for your water storage tanks.

Installing isolation valves and sub-meters on all major water using processes in your facility will help you to easily monitor water use and detect leaks, especially as the facility ages and leaks become more common.

Check for leaks

It's best to complete this test overnight, when most water using systems are not in use.

  • In the evening, turn off any water using systems, such as irrigation. If you have processes that use water overnight make a note of these and their expected water use.
  • Read your meter by recording the black (kilolitres) and red (litres) numbers from left to right.
  • Read your meter again first thing in the morning.If the numbers have changed or you have unexplained water use (that is not the result of overnight water using processes), you may have a leak.

Water balance table

The first step in being able to reduce your water use is to understand where the water is being used in your business. By entering the relevant data into a table you will be able to determine the percentage of water used in each major area. You can carry out a site audit, engage a waterwise auditor or use your site knowledge to make an estimate and then start to look for efficiencies in high water use areas.

Maintain equipment in good condition

As plant and equipment age, washers and float valves will need to be replaced to prevent leaks. Regularly check all seals as part of your site’s maintenance program and replace as necessary.

Active monitoring

Have you considered active monitoring of your water use through a building management system? Data loggers can be placed on pulse capable meters and allow you to monitor water use through your computer.

Float valve maintenance

Where equipment uses a ball/float valve, ensure that the ball/float valve is set up correctly, and carry out regular maintenance checks for stuck or broken valves to minimise water loss.

Check that the ball/float valve on the make-up line can close preventing uncontrolled inflow and that it is working correctly and not bouncing excessively.

Other ideas to help you save water

  • Reinforce water efficiency messages and initiatives at staff meetings
  • Implement a water efficient purchase policy, ensuing you upgrade to water efficient plant and equipment when it’s being replaced