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Did you know Commercial and industrial water users in the Tweed used 1.65 billion litres of water in 2013-14?

While water efficiency of businesses has improved since then, there are still many opportunities to reduce the water used in businesses. It may be on the production line, in the office or perhaps the kitchen and bathrooms of your workplace. This webpage provides a number of measures that could be implemented by businesses to reduce water use. Click on the links provided below for handy hints on saving water in your business.

Free Water Audits for Businesses

For a limited time, Tweed Shire Council is providing free water audits for businesses in the Tweed. Council will visit and assess your business and then work with you to identify a range of water efficiency improvements. Contact Council to arrange your free water audit and join other businesses already saving water, money and energy.

Case Study: Saving water at the iconic Condong Sugar Mill

In 2011, Tweed Shire Council began working with the Condong Sugar Mill to identify ways to reduce water use in the factory by about 300,000 litres per week .

Condong Sugar Mill The project involved installing new pipework, linking existing pipework and installing valves to enable the use of condensate rather than town water in a number of processes.

In addition to the physical changes, operator awareness of steam usage and the cost of town water were added factors in driving down water use. Each operator station was supplied with a list of actions and strategies to follow in order to reduce the need for adding water to the process.

The sugar mill processes about 200 tonnes of cane per hour during the crushing season and cane contains about 70 per cent water. This means that the mill produces about 40,000 litres per hour of excess water as condensate. The condensate is now used for emergency dilution water to the milling train and on water spray lines for several evaporators that are used to concentrate the sugar solution to syrup.

Conduct a water audit and develop a water conservation plan

To identify areas of improvement, it's important to first understand how much water is being used, where it's being used and the cost to your business. The following will help you to conduct a water audit of your business.

  • Check your water bills for the past two years to see how much water has been used. Sudden or gradual increases in water use may indicate leakage
  • To get an accurate picture of your annual water costs, add the other hidden costs of increased water consumption such as pre-treatment costs, labour, electricity and chemicals
  • Read your water meters regularly to identify any unexpected increases in water use that may indicate leakage. To confirm if there are leaks, carry out a night flow test when water use is nil or at a minimum
  • Identify equipment and practices that waste water
  • Identify the water intensive areas of your business to target specific areas of high consumption.

Using this information, you'll be able to develop a water conservation plan. Before doing so, your business needs to:

  • Gain senior management commitment to ensure resources are adequate to support the plan
  • Appoint a "water manager" who is responsible and accountable for your plan
  • Conduct a water survey to identify your water usage and costs.

Commercial kitchen appliances

Food processing
  • A commercial sink uses about 40 litres to fill, while a water efficient dishwasher may use as little as 15 litres.
  • Consider, compare and source water efficient appliances (dishwashers, glass rinsers, ice makers, coolers and cleaning equipment).
  • When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments.
  • Encourage staff to wait until they have a full load in the dishwasher before using it.
  • Rinse dishes in a plugged sink or bowl rather than under a running tap.


  • When cleaning, use a bucket to wash and rinse where possible, instead of running the taps or hose.
  • Have workers use a broom rather than a hose to clean paths and gutters.
  • If water use is necessary, use high pressure hoses which are both water efficient and more effective cleaners.


Did you know
Leaking toilets are the most common leak and can waste up to 25 litres of water a day, while a leaking tap can waste up to 200 litres a day.Plumber
  • Check for leaks in taps, pipes and hoses.
  • Replace washers as soon as they begin to leak
  • Encourage staff and guests to report leaking taps and fittings

Gardens and nurseries

  • Be sure your irrigation system is watering only the intended areas and not flowing onto footpaths and roads.
  • Check your irrigation system regularly for leaks or broken sprinkler heads and adjust pressures to specification.
  • If suitable, install subirrigation or drip irrigation systems. These can produce water savings of up to 75 per cent compared to overhead sprinklers. If you do have overhead sprinklers, fix water efficient nozzles.
  • Set up wind breaks around the lot to cut down on water lost to wind and transpiration.
  • Ensure nursery irrigation systems meet the standard recommended by the Nursery Industry Association of Australia.
  • Manage your irrigation system correctly. Choose a system which allows automatic shutdown, moisture sensors, and can apply water at different rates to different parts of the nursery or garden.
  • Look at options to recycle water - for example, rooftops and runoff are a good source of irrigation water, with little need for treatment.

Construction Industry

  • Retain as much vegetation as possible during construction to reduce evaporation.
  • Install water efficient irrigation systems.
  • Use buckets of water to clean tools instead of running water.
  • Incorporate water saving principles into all aspects of the project. You can prepare a water saving action plan for your project that includes actions during construction, appliances and plumbing to be installed, reuse potential, landscaping and rainwater utilisation.
  • Stay up to-date with the latest opportunities for water conservation design and appliances.

Laundry and Commercial Washing Machines

Washing Machine
  • Commercial laundries use large volumes of water with potential for significant water and cost savings. But there are other businesses, such as hotels and other accommodation, aged care facilities etc also using commercial machines.
  • If you haven't already done so, establish a system where guests can elect to keep their towels and bed linen for stays of more than one night and save water in the laundering.
  • A new 8.5kg top loading washing machine (less than ten years) will use 90 litres per load, while an older machine could use as much as 140 litres per load. A new front loaded machine will use just 67 litres per load. While initial capital investment is higher for a front loader, running costs are less, meaning that over the life of the machine, a front loader is a better business investment.
  • The Victorian Government has published a Best Practice Guide for maximising Laundry Performance to assist the laundry manager assess their own operation and to provide a plan for practical changes that will save money while maintaining product quality. Click here (external link) for a copy of the Guide.
  • Install a water reuse system to divert waste water from the laundry to the garden for irrigation.
  • Install a timer to turn off equipment when not in use.
  • Ensure equipment such as boilers, pumps, chillers, and water heaters are used according to actual loads, are shut down when not in use and properly maintained to prevent water loss due to leaks, steam or condensation.


Did you know
A 10m x15m pool will lose about 7cm of surface water to evaporation each week. This amounts to 10,500 litres of water in a week or 546,000 litres in a year.

  • Install pool and spa covers to reduce evaporation.
  • Install recirculating pumps for your pool.
  • Check pool infrastructure regularly for leaks or other problems and monitor the water level in your pool.
  • top your pool up with rainwater.

Managing staff

  • Encourage your staff to adopt water saving practices.
  • Waiter Involve staff in water saving initiatives by providing staff incentives, linking water conservation to staff performance reviews and using communication tools like bulletins, newsletters and emails to send staff water saving ideas, announcements, progress reports and news of special achievements.
  • Appoint a water ambassador within the organisation who creates and implements water saving programs and initiatives.
  • Include water conservation policies and procedures in staff training programs.
  • Publish your organisation's water use performance against targets.

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