For many of our waterwise businesses tracking their water consumption has been a key part of saving water and ensuring continuous improvement of efficient water practices.

Alcoa’s Pinjarra Alumina Refinery uses a 24/7 water consumption monitoring program as part of its normal business processes, to ensure that any unusual fresh water use is promptly investigated. The complexity of the water balance around the refinery means even small operational changes can have significant impacts. All staff receive environmental awareness training that includes recognition of the importance of water conservation. The refinery has an active Water Management Team that looks for opportunities to improve water efficiency, including minimising the use of scheme water. With Pinjarra’s new residue filtration facility now in operation, more recovered process water will be available for re-use in the coming years which will assist in reducing the refinery’s fresh water needs.

Filter presses at Alcoa’s Pinjarra refinery filtration facility.
Filter presses at Alcoa’s Pinjarra refinery filtration facility.

BHP Nickel West Kambalda is striving for a water secure world by 2030 and has made instrumental changes to achieve this goal. Recycled and treated potable water make up a notable 36% of total process water use. Stormwater run-off from a local catchment dam is also harvested. Once the dam reaches a certain capacity, stormwater is pumped to the 'Process Tank' for introduction into the circuit. Water use monitoring is taken very seriously through a scheduled maintenance system, sub-metering network, and monthly water use reports.

Kanowna Belle Northern Star Resources, a gold mine located near Kalgoorlie, has seen an impressive 11.43% decrease in water use in the last year. Daily water use monitoring has been key to ensuring valuable freshwater is used to full capacity and recycled wherever possible. Due to 80% of total water use required for the processing plant, the operation and design incorporates significant water-recycling processes. Storage dams are all equipped with floating liners/covers to prevent evaporation and leak detection systems enable real-time response if required.

Kanowna Belle Northern Star monitor water use daily to ensure valuable water is recycled wherever possible.
Kanowna Belle Northern Star monitors water use daily to ensure valuable water is recycled wherever possible.

Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort’s purchase of a state-of-the-art leak detecting acoustic microphone, new sub-meters and a significant overhaul of garden Irrigation has enabled them to soar to gold recognition status. The resort is uniquely built on beach sand, which means water dissipates so quickly it can take months for an underground leak to surface. After a renewed focus on water monitoring to establish a base line, staff can now investigate leaks when water use spikes. Additionally, through other water saving measures including the installation of water efficient appliances and waterwise messaging, the resort has been able to encourage their guests to conserve our most precious resource.

Southern Cross Care, which provides aged care homes and services in WA, recognised the need to focus on the environmental consequences of their actions and decided to track water use across sites for two years. Invaluable insight came out of this project and performance benchmarks were set and integrated into standard practice across all Southern Cross Care facilities. This included replacement of fixtures to meet minimum 3-star WELS rating, participating in Water Corporation’s showerhead swap program, conducting site audits and improving leak management. Gardens were also redesigned through native planting programs, mulching schedules and ongoing bore and irrigation maintenance. A substantial saving of over 20% of total water use was achieved at Success Village through the careful planning and implementation of a new waterwise irrigation system.

Residents enjoying native garden at Southern Cross Care.
Residents enjoying native garden at Southern Cross Care.

Vicinity Shopping Centres – Maddington Central unearthed a very stubborn, invisible leak through data loggers and inspecting all service conduits and ducting to locate the source of the water use. This investigation aided in locating a leak of approximately 50 litres/minute which once repaired returned water use outside of normal business hours to a zero base flow. This repair led to a reduction in water use of nearly 40% over the year. One-on-one tenant engagement now looks at ways to reduce water use within the individual tenancies and locates any surplus use. The centre swears by data loggers on all water meters to identify and problem solve any use outside of normal trading hours. All amenities have now been fitted with waterwise toilets, timed taps and waterless urinals.

Broome International Airport has undertaken major upgrades to improve efficiency by monitoring their water use. They’ve innovated with the installation of more than 36 sub meters around the facility to monitor and identify leaks and recognise unusual water use. This has also enabled better understanding of water use across the busy area. Minimum 3-star WELS rates fixtures and fitting are installed, a comprehensive audit of the irrigation system has led to essential repairs and a site-wide commitment has been made to identify and report leaks.

Broome International Airport
The Broome International Airport has installed over 36 sub meters around the facility to monitor and identify leaks and recognise unusual water use.