Water Wise Business

Saving water is everyone's business, and all workplaces should aim for long-term water efficiency. Using water efficiently makes good business sense and helps conserve a vital natural resource.

Managing water use efficiently can help your business to:

  • save money
  • inspire your staff
  • contribute to environmental protection goals
  • attract environmentally conscious customers, and
  • help build your brand and image.

It's important we all do our part in reducing drinking water use and that includes our commercial and business industries.

To further understand your water use, as a business, follow this easy benchmarking process:

  1. Look at your business water use
  2. Look at your water bill and assess your water uses
  3. Determine total water use in kilolitres per year
  4. Identify yearly Key Business Activity Indicator (KBAI). This is a measure of how much water an efficient business uses for specific activities. Find the water use benchmark that corresponds best to your business
  5. Divide the kilolitres of water you use per year by your KBAI. The resulting figure is your benchmark. Knowing your water benchmark can help your business operate more efficiently
  6. Identify and implement water saving ideas
  7. Review and report progress.

Sydney Water has put together a whole page of water saving tips for new and existing businesses.

Additional resources

Many small to medium sized businesses in Hornsby Shire are of a high priority with concern to stormwater pollution. This particularly includes industrial areas in Hornsby, Thornleigh and Mount Kuring-gai, however all businesses should be thinking about their environmental impact and taking measures to minimise it.

Things businesses can do to keep our waterways clean

  • Keep your premises clean to avoid unintentional pollution of the stormwater system
  • Ensure drainage from any work or wash areas are isolated from the stormwater
  • Make arrangements to recycle used oils, chemicals and other materials or dispose of them at an approved waste depot
  • Locate tanks and valves in a bunded area (i.e. a low wall built to contain liquids). Speed humps across the entrance to the workshop can turn the whole workshop into a bunded area
  • Dry sweep or vacuum rather than hose down work floors and forecourts to help conserve water as well as prevent stormwater pollution
  • Be responsible with waste created by your business operations and look for ways to recycle and reduce waste production.

Managing spills

  • Have an emergency spill response plan and ensure employees are aware of the procedure
  • Stop the source of the spills and isolate or contain it from the stormwater system
  • For clean-up of small scale spills, consult the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the chemicals involved in the spill. These data sheets provide relevant information for specific liquid types and are available from chemical manufacturers and suppliers
  • For large scale hazardous spills contact the NSW Fire Brigade (000) immediately for help with clean-up operations.

Solutions to pollution for small industries and businesses

Managing pollution from constructions and buildings sites

  • Minimise area to be cleared and leave as much vegetation as possible. Install temporary fences to define ‘no go’ areas that are not to be disturbed
  • Install sediment fences correctly along the low side of the site before work begins
  • Divert water around the work site and stabilise channels but ensure that you do not flood the neighbouring property
  • Establish a single stabilised entry/exit point. Clearly mark the access point and ensure the access point is used
  • Leave or lay a kerb-side turf strip (for example, the nature strip) to slow the speed of water flows and to trap sediment
  • Check the erosion and sediment controls every day and keep them in good working condition
  • Stockpile (and preferably cover) topsoil within the sediment-controlled zone
  • Always be aware of the weather forecast
  • Stabilise exposed earth banks (e.g. vegetation, erosion control mats)
  • Fill in and compact all trenches immediately after services have been laid
  • Install site waste receptacles (mini-skip, bins, wind-proof litter receptors)
  • Sweep the road and footpath every day and put soil behind the sediment controls. Hosing of roads and footpaths is unacceptable – this may lead to stormwater pollution
  • Connect downpipes from the guttering to the stormwater drain as soon as the roof is installed or install temporary downpipes. This removes a large source of fast-flowing water across your site
  • Revegetate the site as soon as possible. The erosion and sediment control devices must be kept in place until 70% of the site has been revegetated.

Guidelines for Erosion and Sediment Control on Building Sites

Sydney water has a variety of Water Conservation programs with subsidies, to find out of you are eligible please email: waterefficiency@sydneywater.com.au or visit Water efficiency tips.

For small business

Sydney Water offers a small business water saving program which helps assess your water use, connect with a local plumber, and make subsidised water savings changes of up to $1,000. Check WaterFix Small Business to see if you are eligible for the pilot program.

For larger business

The WaterFix commercial program helps government buildings, schools and universities, theatres, office towers, hotels, shopping centres, neighbourhood swimming pools, and more, with assessment, monitoring, business specific recommendations and installation support. WaterFix Commercial