FAQ

Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils are jointly committed to working with our community to reduce water consumption. Reducing our community water use will help build resilience to future droughts, save our residents money on their water bills and alleviate stress on our drinking water supplies.

Conserving water is becoming increasingly important as supplies face mounting pressure as a result of climate change.

Data shows that around 50% of our region’s water use is in apartment buildings (with over 80% of this inside units).

A graph that shows that water use in apartments at 46%, compared to single dwellings 33%, retail 7.5%, health 7%, industrial 6% and education at just 0.5%

Yes. Simply register your details and Sydney Water will provide feedback on how your building is performing in terms of water use, and whether there is potential to save.

Sydney Water assesses your building’s water use performance by calculating an efficiency benchmark based on the number of litres per bedroom per day, using bedroom and historical water consumption data for your building.

This benchmark allows Sydney Water to more accurately assess the building’s water use and determine whether you are a top water conserver or if there are opportunities to become more water efficient. 

Based on the information you provide when you register (including number of bedrooms in your apartment block) and historical water use data, Sydney Water undertakes an online water efficiency assessment which allocates a water use benchmark for your building.

See the table below about what different benchmarks mean. Sydney Water will email you the results of this assessment with suggested next steps. 

CategoryWater use benchmark
(L/bedroom/day)
What that tells you
Best PracticeLess than 150You are using lower than average water consumption. Sydney Water will give you a certificate to share the good news with your building. Keep up the great water-wise work!
Water Efficient150 – 200Your building is water efficient and no further action is required.
Typical200 – 300 Very limited opportunity for savings.
High300 – 400 Your building has higher than average water consumption and could be fair game for some easy wins.
Very High> 400This is a definite opportunity to make savings and your building could be eligible for the service at no upfront cost, via a performance contract. This means you pay for the service via ongoing bill savings.

The amount of water and cost savings can vary from building to building. Sydney Water will always aim to repair leaks and increase the water efficiency in 100% of apartments. On average, WaterFix® typically saves around 30% of your current water consumption.

Owners and tenants at the Sydney CBD high rise apartment building, Windsor Plaza, saw a 34% reduction in total water usage which saved the Owners Corporation around $44,000 a year in water usage charges.

The quote will typically depend on the size of the building, its water performance benchmark and potential fixes required. But it’s usually very cost-effective. Buildings which have previously received the service have experienced savings that pay back the cost of the service in less than 2 years. They can then enjoy year-on-year savings. It’s usually a solid business case. Sydney Water will always try to provide fully transparent pricing before starting any work.

Apartment buildings in Randwick Council area will be able to apply for a rebate under their Sustainability Rebates program for this service – 50% of invoice cost up to $2,000. Find out more.

There are two payment options available from Sydney Water:

  1. Direct fee for service.
  2. Performance payment plan based on the value of water saved. The repayment plan will start from your next Sydney Water bill. This plan is available to those buildings assessed as high users. 

WaterFix® fees are charged to the Owners Corporation once we have the Strata Committee’s and/or Owner Corporation’s approval. There may be situations where an individual owner can be charged, such as if they request an upgrade or work that hasn’t been included in the agreed scope.

Sydney Water will always give full, transparent pricing before commencing any work. 

This finance option is a form of performance contract:

  • Waterfix® costs are deferred to match the value of savings that result from the Waterfix® service
  • online water monitoring is packaged into the service cost
  • project management is packaged into the service cost
  • most eligible buildings can expect no upfront cost
  • eligibility is determined via credit history check + benchmark water use

Sydney Water is happy to explain this further as needed. Email 

WaterFixStrata@sydneywater.com.au or 1800 354 107.

Company title properties and Neighbourhood association properties should be able to participate in WaterFix Strata. The lots on the property would need to be sharing a single water meter i.e. not be individually metered. Contact Sydney Water at waterfixstrata@sydneywater.com.au if uncertain. 

 

Not strictly, as the WaterFix® service can be considered maintenance and depending on the governance in your block only Strata Committee approval may be required. You may decide to communicate the program to the Owners Corporation at an AGM and EGM, to gain their support and understanding of what’s involved. If required, Council can attend any meetings to present on the program with Sydney Water.

Aside from the water cost savings from the plumbing retrofits, during the service, the OC can get a snapshot of the current state of the building with regards to the following areas which are either OC responsibility or fall back on the OC when renovations have been done without OC approvals.

  • Isolation valves condition
  • Bathroom renovated vs unrenovated
  • Hot water meter condition – if centralised hot water system (fairly unusual in the smaller buildings) 
  • Age of internal hot water heaters within apartments – this record can be useful to determine likelihood of failure in future
  • Leaking taps, watering systems, toilets in common areas/gardens
  • Pool issues

Once your Strata Committee or Owners Corporation have approved go-ahead, a suitable time for implementation will be agreed between yourselves and Sydney Water.

An appointed Sydney Water project manager will provide communications to all residents, schedule appointments, and generally organise logistics when plumbers are onsite.

The actual plumbing work itself typically only requires about 20-30 minutes per apartment. In some cases there may be significant works needed and these will take longer. 

In a normal 7am – 4pm working day, Sydney Water crew can WaterFix® from 12 to 30 apartments. A common 60 apartment block with eight floors is completed in three days or less. Their presence is minimal, quiet, clean and non-disruptive. They’ll also measure customer satisfaction with their services.

Sydney Water plumbers will look at replacing inefficient taps, showerheads and single flush toilets with efficient alternatives. They will also install tap aerators and other water-saving devices. 

They use a standard range of Caroma products in taps and toilets. The toilet models used depend on the trap type and existing set outs (measurements of trap for wall, or floor, and height of toilet inlet tap). If a building would like a different range of tapware this can also be accommodated but will vary the cost.

Ideally yes – 100% of apartments should receive the service to get the most benefit for their fellow neighbours and the building overall. Only when every apartment is inspected and fixed (as well as the common areas), can we guarantee the building to be ‘WaterFixed’.

All residents are encouraged to participate to give the best chance of success. 

Typically older strata buildings have only one water meter which measures all water usage to the site – this includes common areas and all apartments. Total water use is paid for by the Owners Corporation.

There can be confusion as owners do receive a quarterly bill from Sydney Water. This bill is for connection to the water and sewerage system ONLY & does not cover water usage. 

Only apartment buildings completed in the past couple of years are likely to have individual water meters for each apartment.

Sydney Water’s qualified plumbers can complete the rest of the building to make it as water efficient as possible, but the best results will occur when 100% of the apartments are completed.

Sydney Water has chosen the equipment based on extensive research and real-life quality testing. Consumer warranties apply to all work undertaken.

Yes, they have the expertise and sophisticated equipment to detect concealed leaks with precision and certainty.

Yes, all work, labour and fittings are covered by warranty. With WaterFix® Strata, you’re dealing directly with Sydney Water.

Sydney Water is a State Owned Corporation, 100% owned by the NSW Government. As part of their Operating License, Sydney Water has specific requirements to drive action for greater water efficiency. This requires Sydney Water to invest in economically viable projects, including WaterFix® Strata (see more information). Improving water efficiencies also ease pressure on ageing infrastructure.

 

Try our top water-wise tips:

  • Take shorter showers – 3-4 minutes or the length of your favourite song (except epic tunes like Bohemian Rhapsody). Shower timers come in handy.
  • Choose water efficient appliances – Look out for a high start WELS rating (5 is best) for washing machines and dishwashers
  • Wash in the sink – If you only have a few dishes, you’ll save water and energy
  • Don’t leave taps running
  • Wash clothes on a full load
  • Use the dishwasher when fully stacked
  • Report any leaks as soon as possible – A dripping tap can waste over 40 litres of water a day – that’s the equivalent of having a second shower! 
  • Grab a bucket to capture and recycle water in your shower or bath to water your balcony or garden plants.

For more tips visit Love Water Sydney.

We can provide Water-Wise Tips materials to put up on your noticeboard or for tenants to prompt ‘good’ water-wise behaviour. Just ask us.