If there’s only a single water meter and the building has a high water usage, the owners corporation needs to be proactive in reducing consumption.
Water consumption inside apartments can be reduced by:
- physical water saving initiatives by both the owners corporation and individual residents
- behavioural changes of residents
- eliminating overcrowding
It’s important that the showers, taps and toilets inside apartments are water-efficient, and that there aren’t any leaks.
One dripping tap can waste 2,000 litres a month.
Every dollar saved on hot water wastage saves further $3x on energy costs.
The following table summarises the options available to an owners corporation, and rates them according to:
- Ease of implementing (by the owners corporation / strata committee)
- Effectiveness in ensuring action is taken to reduce water consumption
The only option that is truly effective is to implement Sydney Water’s Waterfix® service, or equivalent, as an owners corporation initiative. It’s not as easy to implement as the other options, but It’s the only way to get results and the rewards are worth the effort.
Sydney Water’s Waterfix® service has now been carefully adapted to suit apartment buildings. In addition to its primary focus on leak repairs, showers, taps and toilets, it now includes an efficient and accurate quotation process; turn-key project management; and financing options
You can achieve the same results by using your building’s plumber or other specialist to provide the same service. Just make sure they’re aware of some of the important differences between apartment buildings and houses when it comes to Installing water-efficient fixtures. Sydney Water has worked all this out over the years and its services cater for all possibilities.
As an owners corporation you can also:
- Take steps to combat overcrowding
- Encourage your owners to independently avail themselves of the WaterFix® service. Taking this path is not as effective as the owners corporation managing the process as it depends on individual motivations
- Encourage residents to report leaks. Some owners corporations pay to repair minor leaks in apartments because it works out cheaper than the cost of the wasted water
- Keep your eye out for any leaks. Even small leaks can add up to large water bills, as they happen all day, every day. If you are unsure, have a look at your main water meter late one night (when it is unlikely that many people are showering). If it keeps spinning around at a high and constant rate, chances are there are some leaks to be found and saved
- Implement an annual or biannual water conservation program to keep on top of leaks and inefficient fittings inside apartments
- remembering that owners and tenants don’t receive a water bill, you can:
- ensure your residents know about rebates and incentives that are open to them
- help your residents understand the amount of water consumed by different activities
- ensure your residents are aware of water saving habits they can adopt
- ensure your residents are aware of water efficient products that can be used in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries
- make all residents aware of your building’s water consumption (good or bad) and how their usage compares to others