Benchmarking can help you to compare your water use to other businesses in the same industry. Every business type has a benchmark measurement for efficient water use. This measurement tells us how much water an efficient business uses for specific water related activities in their day to day operations.

Benchmarking helps to:

  • Measure your performance over time
  • Compare your performance against other similar businesses
  • Identify efficiency improvements
  • Establish realistic reduction targets

To work out your benchmark:

  1. Work out your water use (kilolitres per year)
  2. Identify your business activity measure
  3. Divide the kilolitres of water you use by your business activity measure

This equation is your benchmark when comparing your water use.

Business activity measures

Every business type has its own activity measure based on how it uses water. This is used to determine your water use benchmark. You can find your business activity measure below.

 

Table showing common business activity measures
Business/ Industry Type Business Activity Measure Benchmark Indicator
Aged Care Resident per day kL/resident per day
Aquatic Centre Bather numbers kL/bather
kL/patron
Caravan Park Occupancy
Site numbers
kL/occupant/year
kL/occupant/night
Hospital Patient bed days kL/patient bed day
Hotel / Motel Guest night
Occupancy numbers
kL/guest night
kL/occupied room
Manufacturing Product produced or processed kL/product produced
kL/product processed
Mining Mining production figures kL/tonne product produced
Office Nett Lettable Area kL/m2 NLA
Prison Inmates and employees kL/inmate and employee
Retail Centre Patrons
Gross Lettable Area
kL/patron
kL/m2 GLA
TAFE/ University Full-time equivalent students and staff kL/student and staff
Turf Irrigation Water use per year kL/hectare
Wastewater Operations Amount of scheme water used to treat a megalitre of treated wastewater kL/megalitre treated wastewater
Wharf/ Port Vessels
Tonnes shipped
kL/vessel
kL/tonne shipped

Water efficiency benchmarks

Compare your water use to the benchmarks below to find out how you compare to your industry.

The water efficiency performance indicator for aquatic centres is litres per bather or litres per patron. Sydney Water has developed the following benchmarks for aquatic centres:

Aquatic water efficiency benchmarks
Rating Benchmark litres per bather Benchmark litres per patron
Best practice <20 <10
Efficient 20 to 40 10 to 25
Far 40 to 60 25 to 40
Inefficient >60 >40

The water efficiency performance indicator for residential aged care facilities is litres per resident per day. We developed the following benchmarks using data from local aged care facilities.

Aged care water efficiency benchmarks
Category Benchmark (litres/resident/day
Best practice 130 or less
Typical 130 - 300
High Greater than 300

The water efficiency performance indicator for hotels is litres per occupied room night (L/occupied room night) and litres per guest night (L/guest night). We developed the following benchmarks using data from local hotels.

Hotels water efficiency benchmarks
Category Benchmark
(L/occupied room night)
Benchmark
(L/guest night)
Average water use performance 375 281
Best practice water cooled hotel 206 159
Best practice air cooled hotel 246 173

The water efficiency performance indicator for commercial office buildings is kilolitres per nett lettable area per annum (kL/m2NLA/annum). We developed the following benchmarks using data from office buildings in Perth.

Office buildings water efficiency benchmarks
Category Water cooled buildings Benchmark
(kL/m2NLA)
Air cooled buildings Benchmark
(kL/m2NLA)
Typical - building that hasn't implemented major water efficiency measures or doesn't have major leaks 0.75-0.86 0.61-0.75
Mid-range - building with a water management plan & proactive about water efficiency measures 0.61-0.75 0.48-0.61
Very well managed - building with proactive management & good design 0.48-0.61 0.35-0.48
Best practice -building with proactive water management & best practice design 0.35-0.48 <0.35

The water efficiency performance indicator for retail centres is kilolitres per gross lettable area per year (k/m2GLA/annum). We developed the following benchmarks using data from local retail centres.

Retail centres water efficiency benchmarks
Category Benchmark (kL/m2GLA)
Poor >1.56
Below average 1.16-1.56
Average 0.96-1.16
Above average 0.76-0.96
Best practice <0.56

The water efficiency performance indicator for turf irrigation is kilolitres per hectare. Sydney Water has developed the following benchmarks for turf irrigation.

Turf irrigation water efficiency benchmarks
Rating Best practice benchmark
Elite 4000 to 9000 kilolitres per hectare per year
Regional 2500 to 5000 kilolitres per hectare per year
Local 1500 to 3500 kilolitres per hectare per year
Passive 0 to 2500 kilolitres per hectare per year

Related articles