Benchmarks for water use

 We’ve developed simple benchmarks to help you easily compare your water use with other similar businesses.

What is a benchmark?

Each business type has its’ own activity measure for efficient water use. An important part of your benchmark is the business activity measure. This is a measure of how much water an efficient business uses for specific activities.

Find out more in the tables below.

Benchmarking your water use will help you:

  • measure your performance over time
  • compare your performance against other similar businesses
  • identify efficiency improvements
  • establish realistic reduction targets

How to determine 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 is your benchmark.

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.

Compare your water use to the benchmarks and view our water efficiency tips  to find out how to become more water efficient.

Rating Benchmark litres per bather Benchmark litres per patron
 Best practice  <20  <10
 Efficient  20 to 40  10 to 25
 Fair  40 to 60  25 to 40
 Inefficient  >60  >40

Reference: Sydney Water

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.

Compare your water use to the benchmarks and view our water efficiency tips to find out how to become more water efficient.

Category Benchmark (litres/resident/day 
 Best practice 130 or less
 Typical 130 - 300 
 High Greater than 300

Read our 2018 Waterwise aged care update.

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.

Compare your water use to the benchmarks and view our water saving tips to find out how to become more water efficient.

 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

Read our 2018 Waterwise hotels update.


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.

Compare your water use to the benchmarks and view our water efficiency tips to find out how to become more water efficient.

  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.

Compare your water use to the benchmarks and visit our water efficiency tips page to find out how to become more water efficient.

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

Read our 2018 Waterwise retail update.