Water Wise in Willoughby

Apartment block pool and shower headStrata managers, members of owners corporations and building managers can benefit from the Water Wise program and use our step-by-step guide to saving water and money.

Performing an audit of your building’s common areas will help you gain an understanding of water consumption in each area and how water is used. This could help you to potentially identify a leak and/or opportunities to reduce water usage.

Educating owners and occupiers on water saving measures they can implement within their apartments can reduce the energy used to pump water around the building and for hot water heating.

  1. Baseline - Monitor - Compare
  2. Audit
  3. Water Saving Initiatives
  4. 'Save Water' Information and Education Material
  5. Waterfix®
  6. Resources

1. Baseline - Monitor - Compare

A baseline establishes past and present water usage patterns and helps you plan and improve for the future. Compile water usage data (in Kilolitres) from your last two years of water bills and insert them into xlsx format Baseline Spreadsheet (20.61 KB) (note: Do not use charge costs as this may change over time). 

Use the table to generate a graph to identify long term trends, such as high and low water usage periods. Anomalies may be identified including spikes in water usage, which may be attributed to a change in your building, or it may indicate a leak. Reduced usage exhibited on your graph may provide proof of water saving measures or a fixed leak.

Keep the spreadsheet and graph updated to monitor any changes to your building’s water use.

Compare your building to other hi-rise buildings, the further from best practise your building is, the more cost-effective your future water saving actions will be.

Using the findings of a Hi-rise Building Water Audit Pilot Program in 2011, Sydney Water defined appropriate water use benchmarks for hi-rise buildings. Sydney Water recommends the following per-bedroom consumption benchmark:


Water Use per Bedroom Benchmark

Higher Use 300 and higher
Typical 200 to 300
Best Practice Less than 200
Unachieved Target Less than 130

If you are unable to retrieve water billing data, Council will work with Sydney Water on your behalf to produce the graph and benchmark for your property.

For information on your water bill, visit Sydney Water’s website.

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2. Audit

A water audit of your building will help identify how efficient your block is, and where water is potentially being wasted. An engineer can help you conduct a water audit in your block, which normally involves monitoring water meters, inspecting where water is being used and indicating where efficiency measures are available. 

However, you can do something straight away without a detailed inspection. Be proactive in your site’s water management by physically inspecting where your water is being used. You may find irrigation timers are not adjusted to compensate cooler and wetter months, a tap may be dripping or a hose may not have a trigger nozzle. These common issues contribute to significant potable water loss and financial costs over time.

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4. Water Saving Initiatives

  • Consider installing sub-metering in your block to help detect leaks.
  • Routinely checking for pipe leaks by a specialist plumber may help to prevent excess water usage events.
  • Maintain cooling towers and regularly check on overflow pipes for constant flows of water which indicates a problem with the valve cut off height.
  • Install trigger nozzles on external hoses to control and prevent water wastage.
  • Plant natives and indigenous species which require less water.
  • Place mulch on garden beds to improve plants and the ground’s ability to retain water.
  • Install rainwater tanks to reduce potable water use.
  • Irrigate in the cooler periods of the day to reduce evaporation loss.
  • Bury drip irrigation systems to reduce water loss from evaporation.
  • Install moisture sensors or sub-surface drip irrigation systems. 
  • Install flow controllers on existing taps. 
  • Install dual flush toilets in common area bathrooms.
  • Install water displacement devices in common area toilets (and encourage owners to do the same).
  • Replace top loading washing machines with more efficient front loader machines in common laundries (encourage occupiers to do the same).
  • Fit common area showers with reduced flow shower heads to conserve water.
  • Keep your pool regularly maintained for optimum efficiency and adjust the temperature to suit the seasons. 
  • Provide education and water saving tips to residents to encourage water saving behaviour.

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5. ‘Save Water’ Information and Education Material

For further information on how to save water in and around your building, visit Sydney Water’s website. You may wish to forward tips to owners and occupiers via e.newsletters or on communal noticeboards.

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6. Waterfix® Discount

WaterFix® is a service to help you save water at home. Sydney Water’s qualified plumbers can:

  • Fix tap and toilet leaks
  • Install new 3-star rated showerheads
  • Install new 4-star rated dual-flush toilets
  • Make your existing taps, toilets and showers more water efficient.

Consider planning WaterFix® works inside apartments during the same visit as the annual fire inspection to minimise time spent attempting to gain access and minimise disturbance to residents.

Phone Council to discuss and consider these tips by Green Strata on how to incorporate WaterFix® into your building. Not only will you reduce your water bill, you’ll reduce your energy use too.

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Sydney Water 
FMA Australia: Facilities Management Good Practice Guide
Green Strata
Strata Community Australia
Australian Government - Your Home
City of Melbourne - Sustainable Solutions for Apartments

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