Improving the efficiency of appliances and water use behaviour in kitchens can result in significant water savings.

High water use in commercial kitchens is often due to inefficient appliances and staff behaviours. Major water using fixtures are usually water cooled woks, dishwashers and ice making machines. Food preparation and cleaning make up the balance of water used.

Check out this video for handy tips that will help reduce water use in your kitchen.


To make your kitchen water efficient start with:

Wok stoves

  • Reduce water use by up to 90% by replacing water cooled wok ranges with low flow or air cooled models. Water cooled woks typically use 4 litres per minute, all of which runs to waste
  • Don’t leave a tap running for wok cooking and cleaning convenience, fit taps with automatic on/off mechanisms or knee operated timer taps


  • Choose water and energy efficient commercial dishwashers which use less than 5 litres per cycle and recycle the final rinse water for the initial rinse in the next cycle
  • Scrape, rather than rinse dishes and utensils, before loading into the dishwasher and run only when full
  • Regularly replace worn spray nozzles in dishwashers

Ice making machines

  • Typical air cooled machines can use up to 10 times less water than similar water cooled models
  • Replace water cooled ‘once through’ ice machines with air cooled models
  • Adjust the machine to dispense only the required amount of ice


  • Choose water and energy efficient glasswashers, which use less than 2 litres per cycle and recycle the final rinse water for the initial rinse in the next cycle
  • Run only when you have a full load
  • If using a conveyor system, ensure water turns off after each load

Food preparation

  • Avoid thawing foods in cold running water; instead thaw in the fridge, in a microwave, or in the cooking process
  • If using a garbage disposer for food waste, limit water use to allow water flow only during operation
  • Wash produce in a filled sink, not under running water
  • Use a broom or mop to clean the floors, instead of a hose (this will also reduce your discharge costs)
  • Avoid using running water to wash produce, fill the sink instead


  • Ensure that commercial steamers are working efficiently and there are no leaking gaskets or pipes
  • Look at replacing old steamers with more efficient models or combi ovens that cook faster and use less water and energy

Need professional assistance?

Contact a commercial kitchen specialist for advice based on your kitchen requirements.

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

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.

Installing low flow taps reduces flow rate by up 50%, the payback period is just 4 months.

Choose low flow taps

Choose taps with built-in flow restriction devices. They are an excellent way to reduce water use, especially in high traffic areas, such as change rooms and shared facilities.


Recommended flow rates:
  • Taps used to fill baths and sinks – 9 litres per minute
  • Taps used for hand washing – 1.5 litres per minute
Payback scenario

This calculation is based on replacing 1 typical hand basin tap (20L/min) with a WELS 6 star low flow tap (3.5L/min) and demonstrates the savings associated with reduced water and sewer charges and the payback period for the cost of the upgrade.

Calculation: litres/minute x 0.25 minutes (15 seconds) x 80 uses/day x 5 days x 50 weeks

Table showing the potential savings by installing a WELS 6 star low flow tap
Flow rate Water Sewer Total water &
sewer charges
Water use
20 L/min $206 $286 $492 100 kL
3.5 L/min $36 $50 $86 17.5 kL
Savings $406 123.75 kL
Upgrade cost $250  
Payback period = ($250/$406) x 12 months 7.4 months  

For a facility with 10 taps, this represents a saving of 1,237 kilolitres and over $6,000 annually! The savings increase even further, when you factor in reduced hot water energy costs.

Find WELS 6 star taps


When choosing your low flow taps consider:

  • Quarter turn taps with ceramic seats – they provide greater flow control and are less prone to leaks
  • Fixed flow taps - such as push-button taps deliver a fixed quantity of water
  • Spring-loaded taps - shut off when user lets go
  • Infrared sensor taps – turn on when motion is detected and deliver a fixed quantity of water

Spring loaded taps, push button taps or infrared sensor taps are best suited for public amenity areas, such as change rooms, where taps can be left running.

Install a flow regulator

A flow regulator, which regulates the flow of water to a predetermined flow rate, may be a good alternative to installing new taps at your facility.

How to choose a flow regulator

Flow regulators include tap outlet aerators, tap inserts, in-line regulators and trigger operated nozzles.

  • Tap aerators – reduce flow rate by up to 50% by adding air to the flow stream. The spray-like flow maintains washing effectiveness and reduces splashing. It most cases it's the easiest way to upgrade your existing taps as the aerator is connected to the tap outlet.
  • Flow restrictors – reduce flow rate by up to 50% and they are fitted within your existing plumbing on the connecting pipe under your sink taps. Flow restrictors reduce the amount of water that passes through the pipe and are a low-cost alternative to replacing your existing fixtures with low-flow taps.
  • Trigger hose nozzles – they use less water and deliver a high pressure stream at a regulated flow rate and shut off when the trigger is released. To further increase water savings, dry sweep the area first and use the hose as a final rinse.
  • Food service trigger hose nozzles – provide a spray pattern specifically designed to remove food scraps with little water and shut off when the trigger is released.

Your plumber can advise on the most suitable device for your business.

Repair leaking taps

Repairing just 1 dripping tap can save up to 20,000 litres of water each year. Worn washers are the most common causes of leaks. If you have a leak, contact a Waterwise Plumber.