Retirement Villages save $180K worth of water

Category: In the News

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Since 2017 a property manager/owner of retirement living villages across Australia has saved over 17 Olympic-sized pools of water and reduced residents' outgoings by more than $180,000. Part of its approach involved working with WaterGroup, Australia's largest corporate water savings company with a proven track record of saving money and water for its clients.

There is no doubt water conservation in Australia is important.

Long, severe droughts that have brought ongoing water restrictions to large parts of the country have highlighted the twin challenge of declining supply and growing demand.

On average, Australians spend up to $1000 on water bills every year and combined, according to the latest ABS figures, consume 19,000 gigalitres (or the equivalent of 38 Sydney Harbours) every year.

While agriculture remains the largest user of water globally, according to the United Nations Environment Program – buildings are responsible for 12 per cent of the world’s limited freshwater use.

Despite the government acknowledging Australia is facing “major challenges in ensuring sustainable water supply in the face of increased climate variability”, little in the way of policy or incentive is in place to generate sustainable building or retrofit measures to rein in water use.

older people at lunch gathering

However, advancements in water saving technologies over the past few years have equated to significant savings in homes, offices, and businesses across Australia.

And one property group has reaped the rewards.

This Retirement Living portfolio owner is one of Australia’s largest owners, managers and developers of independent living communities providing homes for over 17,000 Australian retirees.

Since 2017, the company has saved over 17 Olympic-sized pools of water and reduced residents’ outgoings by more than $180,000.

“You can’t manage, what you don’t measure and therefore a key contributor to water savings and achievement of environmental targets was to deploy a smart metering solution, which could be deployed quickly across [our] portfolio, to enable village managers and operation teams to access, gain insights and take meaningful action to reduce water, identify leaks early and generally improve operation performance,” a spokesperson for the company said.

A strategic partnership with WaterGroup was born

By April of this year, 41 of the company’s 72 retirement villages had been equipped with smart water metering solutions that comprised a smart water logger and a desktop portal to view the water data collected.

With a like-minded approach to water conservation, the company partnered with Australia’s largest corporate water savings company WaterGroup to initiate a smart water metering program. 

Managers at the retirement villages were provided with a six month Active Water Analysis, Risk and Efficiency (AWARE) management service to make the most of their smart metering systems.

The AWARE service included an experienced team that pro-actively monitored and analysed data, and according to the latest figures, the company saved $124,000 across 2019.

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Data automation delivers real value

Earlier this year, Dee Why Gardens Village for retirees in Sydney was hit with a water leak crisis.

Deep in the underground pipes water had started to gush out. Left attended this major fissure was estimated to cost the retirement village more than $2500 a month.

However, WaterGroup’s smart logger alerted the village of the leaks, bypassing serious cost and potential safety and damage issues.

The Village Manager of Dee Why, was the first to be alerted to the leaks.

He asked staff to look out for damp residues around the grounds and buildings, however, nothing was obvious.

“I noticed the leak alerts continuing and water use increasing, without being able to observe the issue; I knew we needed to call in the experts for an assessment,” he said, they engaged WaterGroup’s leak detection team and within four hours WaterGroup had tracked the exact location of the leak, using its high-tech acoustic leak detection equipment.

A cracked pipe was discovered under seemingly dry concrete slabs on one of the Village outdoor paths and soon fixed by a local plumbing company.

Saving water is the right thing to do

Across its Retirement Living villages this property management company has supported a lower cost of living for its most valued stakeholders, its residents.

With buildings playing a critical role in conserving the precious resource of water, the company has committed to pursuing water savings through investigating rainwater harvesting and reuse, retrofitting water efficient fittings and fixtures, water sensitive design, real-time water monitoring and the latest technologies available for leak detection.

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