Aquatic and recreational facilities throughout Victoria continue to face the challenge of developing practical water saving measures to ensure the use of water is kept to a minimum, without impacting the provision of pools for recreational and community benefit. Currently, each facility develops and incorporates its own individual water saving measures. This project aimed to investigate water usage within aquatic facilities (including both indoor and outdoor public pools) and focused on identifying current water usage, water saving initiatives and their effectiveness. A best practice guideline set initial industry benchmarks, which will assist facilities and water authorities to understand the ongoing challenges of water conservation.
The prime objective of this project was to develop an accurate “knowledge bankâ€Ÿ of current aquatic and recreation facility water use practices in the Melbourne metropolitan area through surveys and turn this information into a guide for Councils and facility managers to use in their operations, planning and future capital developments.
In particular, the project:
- investigated water usage within aquatic, recreation and leisure facilities with a particular focus on identifying current water usage, water saving initiatives and associated effectiveness;
- evaluated current practices and usage patterns across a range of different facilities from small outdoor aquatic facilities to larger multi purpose leisure centres; and
- developed industry best practice examples and relevant data about water saving strategies to assist in influencing and improving the design and management of existing and future aquatic, recreation and leisure facilities.
One of the key findings from this project was that many facility managers and operators have limited understanding of a centre’s total water usage, including the breakdown of water usage between individual pools and amenities. This lack of knowledge will impact on the efficient management practices that are required to reduce utility and water consumption.
Survey results indicated there has been a stronger uptake on lower cost retrofits such as efficient shower heads and dual flush toilets. There has been minimal uptake on more expensive capital upgrades such as filtration systems and shower timers. Advancement in plant technology and conservation expectations in recent times has potentially exceeded the staff training levels and typical staff structure. This has created a gap in knowledge and human resource implications that impact on the efficient management practices that are required to reduce utility/water consumption.
The Best Practice Guide (available from the Aquatics and Recreation Victoria website) outlines simple, effective and inexpensive options to reduce water usage, whilst also addressing more expensive capital upgrades that managers, operators and owners need to begin investing in. The information compiled from this project is just the first step in the long term process to reduce water usage in the industry.