Park finds cash payoff in environmental water savings

SAVINGS: BIG4 Ballina Headlands Holiday Park owner Graeme Gray (left) has saved $16,000 in five years with water-saving upgrades. Rous Water chair Sue Meehan (right) awards him a bronze level certificate of the Sustainable Water Partners program.
SAVINGS: BIG4 Ballina Headlands Holiday Park owner Graeme Gray (left) has saved $16,000 in five years with water-saving upgrades. Rous Water chair Sue Meehan (right) awards him a bronze level certificate of the Sustainable Water Partners program. Hamish Broome

INVESTING in water saving upgrades for the last five years is paying off for Big4 Ballina Headlands Holiday Park owner Graeme Gray.

In the last five years water prices have doubled, yet Mr Gray has saved $16,000 in water bills.

In 2009 the business signed up to Rous Water's Blue and Green Business Program.

The program provides education, consulting, and cash rebates as an incentive for businesses to reduce their water usage.

For Mr Gray it's managed to help both the business bottom-line and the region's water supply.

"We put in two 10,000 litre water tanks to top up the pool - that was the first project we did in early 2009," Mr Gray said.

"The second project was we put water meters in about 100 residential sites at about $250 each.

"We refurbished the amenities block and did the 13 toilets in there to dual flush; that probably cost us about $800 each."

The holiday park's water usage has since fallen by 46% - from 17,000 down to 9,000 kilolitres per year - enough to supply about 40 new houses with water.

Meanwhile the cost of water has doubled, but Mr Gray has managed to reduce the park's bills.

And while he's careful to point out the savings have been temporarily offset by the cost of the upgrades, the park won't be experiencing "bill shock" any time soon.

The business is the first to be granted a bronze certificate in Rous Water's Sustainable Water Partner program to recognise the best performers.

"Rous Water wants to recognise these achievements," Rous Water chair Cr Sue Meehan said.

Organisations enrolling in the program range from a small baker - which might install a couple of dual-flush toilets - to Southern Cross University, which has installed rainwater tanks across the campus, grey water recycling, and is about to pilot a smart water meter system.

Rous Water technical services director Wayne Franklin said the aim of the program was to delay the need for new water sources as long as possible.

Blue and Green

Rous Water's Blue and Green Business Program provides financial assistance to businesses, schools and other non-residential water users that undertake projects to improve their water efficiency and reduce their demand for water from Rous Water.

Sustainable Water Partners contains three recognition levels - Bronze through to Gold - with each organisation encouraged to progress up the levels through demonstrating and implementing water efficiency.

Topics:  business water

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