Water use in public and staff amenities can account for 15-40% of your total water usage, depending on your business activity. The volumes of water used by toilets, showers and basins are often overlooked, which makes this area an easy target for water savings.

A good example is a full flush toilet, which uses about 11 litres per flush. In comparison, a dual flush toilet can reduce a full flush to 4.5 litres and a half flush to three litres. If you have 100 users on a daily basis, this can save you up to 1,100,000 litres annually.

Download our information sheet for tips and best practice water use and fixtures [PDF, 593 kB].


  • Reduce single-flush volumes by modifying the float arm. Successful modification can reduce single flush volumes from 11 litres to nine litres per flush.
  • Upgrade older cisterns to the most efficient 4-star WELS 4.5/3 litre dual-flush models. This will produce the most significant water savings. If you replace the cistern, make sure that the pan can be used with lower flow rates. If it can't, install a complete, matching suite.
  • Replace cistern seal rubbers every two years to prevent leaks.
  • Inspect units monthly for leaks. Detecting a leak is often difficult. The best method is to add a small volume of blue dye to the cistern, avoid flushing for an hour, and then check the back of the pan for traces of the dye.
  • Task daily cleaners with the job of reporting any obvious leaks.
  • Make sure the toilet is not used as a rubbish bin. High volumes of water are wasted when toilets are used to dispose of general waste. This behaviour may also lead to blockages.

Flushometer systems

Flushometer systems use valve-controlled water pressure to produce a flush into a toilet bowl. Due to variance in pressure and the nature of the flush controller, these systems can use 13 litres or more per flush. Replacing these systems with 4.5/3 litre dual-flush systems will produce the most water efficient solution.

  • Inspect units monthly for leaks.
  • Task daily cleaners with the job of reporting any obvious leaks.
  • Install flow-control regulators (use a licensed plumber). These can reduce volumes by up to 30%.
  • Replace seal rubbers every two years to prevent leaks.
  • Replace valves and ball valves periodically.
  • Check the timing of automatic flush cycles and volumes as well as their operation sensitivity. Make sure they are appropriate for your building's operating hours.


Some urinals can waste a lot of water, especially those with cyclic flushing cisterns. Single stall, manual-flush urinals are the most efficient as they only require water to cleanse the contaminated area. Waterless urinals are also a water efficient alternative.

  • Monitor flushing devices/cisterns daily.
  • Replace seal rubbers every two years to prevent leaks.
  • Install waterless urinals.

Sensor-flush urinals

  • Install smart technology that will count the number of users per flush or have a sensor configured that can only be activated by the close proximity of the user.
  • Use individual sensor-flush units over group sensor-flush units.
  • Set sensors or timers correctly.
  • Set the system to service the minimum number of urinals.
  • Set sensor sensitivity to minimise flushing where possible.

Waterless systems

Before you install a waterless system, get a licensed plumber to assess your plumbing. It needs to meet Plumbing Installation Standard AS/NZS 3500.

  • Assess aesthetic and health issues.
  • Ensure the system is suitable for installation in your business.
  • Consider ongoing chemical and maintenance costs.
  • Educate users and cleaning staff to ensure the system is used correctly.
  • Install signage promoting the efficient use of waterless technology.


  • Reduce flow rates by installing flow-restriction devices inside the shower head.
  • Isolate the mains supply to large shower blocks and limit the pressure to reduce flow.
  • Use only a minimum of WELS 3-star rated (nine litres per minute) water-efficient shower heads. Note that water-efficient shower heads tend to be designed for storage hot water systems. If you have an instantaneous hot water system, the lower flow rate may not trigger it.
  • Install push-button showers that deliver a set quantity of water for a specific amount of time.
  • Encourage shorter showers.

Taps and hand wash basins

  • Install aerators on your taps. Aerators mix air with your water. They reduce water flow without affecting pressure.
  • Reduce kitchen taps to flow rates lower than nine litres per minute.
  • Reduce hand basin taps to flow rates lower than six litres per minute.
  • Install automatic shut-off valves or spring-loaded taps, so when the handle is released the water stops.
  • Install sensor activated taps. When the sensor beam is broken the tap delivers a set quantity of water to the user. Once installed, review the activation time period and adjust for maximum water efficiency.

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