Water usage shrinks as Mater expands

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Mater has successfully implemented a water management strategy during a tough time of transition.

The Australian drought of 2006–08 was the worst on record and reservoirs are only now recovering. The drought brought water security to the forefront of public policy. The State Government’s response was to introduce level 5 water restrictions across 21 councils, including Brisbane, on 10 April 2007.

These restrictions included strict measures for major non-residential water users which included the development of a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP), a strategy for achieving best practice standards in water usage.

In May of last year, Mater engaged Parsons Brinkerhoff Australia Pty Ltd to assist in the development and lodgement of a WEMP compliant with the Queensland Water Commission’s guidelines. The WEMP includes:

  • a review of Mater’s water usage
  • action items for the management and implementation of water efficiency measures
  • targets and key performance indicators for water management
  • timeframes for implementing water efficiency measures.

A water audit was carried out between July 2005 and June 2006 found that Mater’s baseline usage was 1144 litres per occupied bed day (OBD). The key requirement was to reduce our water consumption by 25%, or demonstrate best practice.

To do so a number of actions were taken, including:

  • the insertion of flow restrictors to existing taps and showers
  • a retrofit of dual flush units to over 300 toilets
  • a retrofit of sensors to 31 urinals
  • the installation of a range of tanks to capture rain water for use on gardens, to reuse the water from testing fire booster pumps near the library and to supply the toilets in the new Mater Mothers’ Hospitals
  • the progressive replacement of pan sanitisers with macerators
  • the establishment of a Water Management Policy and a Sustainability Committee
  • the distribution of educational posters.

All of these actions have been completed with exceptional results. Water usage in the quarter to September 2008 was down to 805 litres per OBD—a 30% reduction from the baseline.

In the last six months we have had two Council audits for compliance to WEMP.

We passed with flying colours. In fact, during the second audit, they suggested that we were one of the best sites that they had audited.

Roger Lynch,
Director of Engineering.

To ensure that Mater continues to hit its WEMP targets, staff are reminded to:

  • turn off taps and showers at the earliest opportunity (the same as you would when brushing your teeth)
  • report any leaking water or running toilets to Engineering promptly on extension 8840.
Filed under: Support

To ensure we continue our commitment to meet the health care needs of the community, Mater has developed business strategies which address the issues of financial, social and environmental sustainability.

This website has been developed in accord with these strategies, and is the accompaniment to a summary document printed on recycled paper.