Sydney Water's Every Drop Counts Business Program

01 Jul 2005Archived News Energetics in the News

PUBLISHED: Government News Magazine.

Advising residents about water conservation will have little effect on overall water consumption levels if the commercial and industrial users are left out of the equation. One of Goulburn's biggest industrial users is the Southern Meats abattoir. Following the extraordinary drop in water use from the town's residents, the abattoir has put in place temporary water-saving measures to help get them through this crisis.
"We've asked industry here to cut their use by one third, which they're doing," Goulburn City mayor Paul Stephenson says. "But we're very mindful of the fact that we're not going to lose jobs. That's the last thing we want to do because we've then got a social problem here as well."


Southern Meats employs about 500 people who use aprons that need to be washed several times each day. To save water, the company has switched to using disposable aprons. While this creates more waste of a different kind, Cr Stephenson says at the moment it is the lesser of two evils.

The city's commercial users are also cutting back on their water use. The local laundromat has installed a water recycling system which has cut their use from about 14000L a day to about 500L a day, and the Goulburn Workers Club is serving drinks in recyclable plastic cups to save washing-up water.

While most of these examples are temporary measures, Sydney Water is helping its business customers to manage water use in a sustainable manner. In 2001, the NSW Government-owned corporation launched the Every Drop Counts Business Program aiming to address management of water as a sustainable business resource and minimise water usage through continuous improvement technologies.

Sydney Water engaged the services of Energetics, a global energy and environmental management consulting firm, and its One-2-Five(R) Water continuous improvement diagnostic tool was used to develop improvement plans and extend the range of technical services to help companies improve water management.

Some of the support services available to businesses through the Every Drop Counts program include a free water consumption profile, information on best-practice water use guidelines, online water use monitoring and a 30 per cent discount on extra water meters.

"We are not only achieving a greater uptake of sustainable water conservation improvements with our commercial and industrial customers, but we are also enjoying stronger relationships and very high customer satisfaction results with our major customers," Sydney Water's business program manager Mohan Seneviratne says.

About 262 businesses are involved, including Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Westfield, Australia Post, Wrigley, Caltex, Qantas, IBM, Tooheys and BlueScope Steel. The collective water savings of all the companies is more than 15 megalitres a day.

After its partnership with big businesses, Sydney Water has extended the program to include mid-sized customers through the Water Check program. It uses Energetics' Water Achiever application to drive management commitment and continuous improvements in water management.

Sydney Water itself has embarked on a major water-saving program. Late last year it was revealed that about 10 per cent of the city's drinking water was lost through leaking pipes. The state corporation is checking 21,000km of pipes and hopes to save about 60 million litres each day by identifying and rectifying leakage.

A $250 million contract was awarded in June to renew water pipes and help reduce leakage in more than 80km of water mains in Sydney, the Illawarra and Blue Mountains over the next 12 months. Leakage from Sydney Water's pipes was cut by around a quarter last year, saving 16.5 billion litres of water.

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