What can you do to save water at work?
Here are six water-savvy tips to help you save water at work:
- Reach for the stars: The Green Building Council of Australia has found buildings with Green Star ratings consume 51 per cent less potable water than standard buildings. Discuss with your landlord to find out how efficiently you’re using water and opportunities to reduce consumption.
- Shorten your shower: You may enjoy a long, hot shower after cycling into work, but did you know an eight-minute shower can use up to 120 litres of water?
- Be alert to leaks: Make sure everyone in the office – including your contract cleaners – are on the lookout for dripping taps and running cisterns.
- Utilise rainwater: Use recycled water to clean equipment and vehicles, or to hose down hard areas.
- Delay the dish washing: Wait until the workplace dishwasher is full before running a cycle – and when it’s time to upgrade invest in the highest-star appliance you can afford.
- Look at the label: Choose appliances with high star ratings under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.
Years of drought in parts of Australia has thrown water security back into the spotlight. As building owners take proactive steps to manage our most precious resource, how can you help create a water wise workplace?
Our sunburnt country has always been shaped by droughts and flooding rains. But researchers from the University of Melbourne have found the current dry spell may be the worst to hit our continent in 800 years.
Fresh, virtually free water is something that most Australians take for granted. But let’s not get lulled into a false sense of water security. Long-term changes to rainfall, population growth and climate change are likely to reduce the volume of water available from our catchments.
Many of our city dams are already at dangerously-low levels – and summer’s peak is months away. Sydney’s Warragamba Dam – Australia’s largest urban water supply dam – is hovering at 66 per cent capacity. Brisbane’s main water supply, Wivenhoe Dam, is 69 per cent full. Taken together, Melbourne's 10 reservoirs sit at 64 per cent, while Perth's dams are 53 per cent full.1
Is this the new normal?
The Climate Council’s ground-breaking report, Thirsty Country, found water inflows to key Sydney dams could fall by 25 per cent by 2070. In Greater Perth, annual water demand will outstrip supply by as much as 85 billion litres by 2030 – and that’s enough water to fill 34,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. And average flows to Melbourne’s four largest water harvesting dams could decrease by around a fifth by 2050.
The United Nations tells us that our buildings consume around 25 per cent of the world’s water resources – and the people who use our buildings are at the heart of water wise solutions.