Effective water management isn’t just the responsibility of one person. Establishing a water management team with representatives from across your business will ensure that water efficiency becomes part of business as usual.

We offer practical advice to help your business save water.  Our free online water efficiency training modules include:

A clear understanding of your water use will help to identify unexpected patterns such as leaks or faulty fixtures.

To make sure you know where water is being used at your site, follow these steps to complete a simple water audit.

1. Monitor and record your water use

Read your meter daily and record the readings to understand how your business uses water. Establishing water use patterns over time will make it easy to identify spikes in your water use that need to be investigated.

How to read your meter
  • Read your meter by recording the black (kilolitres) and red (litres) numbers from left to right, at approximately the same time each day
  • Calculate daily water use by deducting the previous meter reading from the current reading

We recommend additional morning and night meter readings for 2 weeks every quarter to assess that the overnight water use is acceptable for your business. If it isn’t you will need to investigate it.

Water monitoring template

Irrigation test template

2. Check water using appliances

Identify all water using devices and processes in your business and check regularly. It will help you detect leaks and faulty fixtures early on and repair as soon as possible to minimise water loss.

Look for:

  • Taps and showers – worn washers, leaking fixtures
  • Toilets and urinals – stuck or worn float valves
  • Dishwashers and glasswashers – leaking unit, taps or plumbing
  • Plant and equipment – identify wherever water is used in your business and regularly inspect
Are your appliances water efficient?

Investing in water efficient appliances will also go a long way in helping you reduce water use.

Check the recommended WELS ratings for your appliances and fixtures

3. Create a water management plan

A water management plan will help you to identify inefficiencies and potential water savings, prepare an action plan and establish a dedicated team to implement the plan. It also provides a process for monitoring and reporting on your water saving actions.

Need professional assistance?

We endorse a number of waterwise water auditors especially trained to conduct a comprehensive audit of your site. They will investigate where water is being used, where it shouldn't and recommend ways to reduce your water use.

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.

A water management plan will help you understand how your business uses water and find ways to introduce efficiencies.

With a plan in place you can:

  • Establish a water use baseline for your business
  • Assess current scheme water use on the site
  • Create a water savings action plan, based on how and where you use water
  • Report on progress of your water savings action plan

As part of the water management plan you will also set water efficiency targets that will help drive the implementation of the water savings initiatives.

Even if your business is already water efficient, a water management plan will help you to maintain efficiency and identify opportunities for further improvements.

Download our water management plan template

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.

Flow monitoring devices are a great tool for detecting leaks, faulty equipment and excessive irrigation.

aflow montoring device fitted to your water meter will measure you site's water use throughout the day. You can analyse the data and track where water is being used at your property. You will need a pulse capable meter or sub meter to isntall a flow monitoring device. If you are not sure that you have one, check with your plumber.

Types of flow monitoring devices

There are 2 types:

  • Manual - needs to be fitted to a pulse capable meter and the collected data is stored on the device. The device may need to be removed from the meter in order to download the data to your computer. These devices are relatively inexpensive and simple to use
  • Automatic - needs to be fitted to a pulse capable meter and can transmit the collected data via radio frequency, the mobile phone network or connected directly to a building management system (BMS)

How much does it cost and where can I get one?

Costs can be as low as a few hundred dollars depending on the type of device. Extra costs may be incurred if you decide to link it to your Building Management System or wish to view the data via a web-based service. Your plumber or local specialist electronics retailer can assist with choosing a flow monitoring device to suit your needs.

Sub-meters will help you to detect and locate leaks quickly.

They also make it easy to check daily water use in specific areas of your facility and tailor your water efficiency actions to target high water using areas.

We recommend sub-metering these areas:

  • Processing equipment
  • Amenities blocks
  • Cooling towers
  • Landscape and irrigation
  • Water storage tanks filled or topped up with mains supply
  • Other areas such as plant or processing where water is used

Your plumber can advise if sub-metering is a suitable option for your facility and for more complex sties, your plumber and a hydraulic engineer may need to be involved in the planning process when considering sub meters.

Consider installing isolation valves at the same time, they enable you to quickly shut down water supply to specific areas of your facility making it easy to identify water faults.

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