5 Sep 2019

    Water Conservation Cheat Sheet for the Workplace

    By Emirates Nature-WWF Team ,

    Start saving water today with this list of 18 actions. There’s something for every type of organisation, from small offices to large property developers.

    Water in the UAE doesn’t come from a tap, but from the energy-intensive process of desalination. By lowering your company’s consumption of water, you will also lower its carbon footprint – and utility bill. A win-win for all!


    What’s the starting level of consumption?

    The scale of water savings that can be achieved will depend on the breadth and size of your organisation’s operations. Start by identifying the current level of consumption or average consumption over the past 12 months if this information is available. Calculate the consumption by person or by square metre – this will help compare results across sites and with other organisations.

    You should be able to find the level of water consumption in your organisation’s Water Stewardship Strategy.


    Did you know? 32 litres is the average amount of water used in office buildings per employee per day

    Next, determine how much your water consumption can be reduced over the next 12 months. Aim to be both ambitious about how far you can go and also realistic about how much can be achieved.

    Keep in mind that the government’s objective is to reduce total demand of water by 21% in the UAE by 2036.


    18 Water Saving Action for UAE Businesses

    Almost all businesses will be able find water saving potentials in toilets and taps. Larger organisations in the UAE can find additional saving potentials in landscape irrigation. Specialised businesses such as factories will be able to apply all the actions in this list and will also benefit from tailoring solutions specific to their operations.


    For small offices

    Small offices that utilize shared toilets in commercial buildings can easily implement the following water savings actions.

    1. Put up ‘Turn it off’ stickers in toilets and near the kitchen sink to remind employees to be conscious of their water consumption.
    2. Place waste bins in each toilet cubicle with signs urging people to avoid flushing tissue and other disposables. 
    3. Invest in a water efficient dishwasher. Newer models of dishwashers utilize less water than traditional hand washing – look for machines with ‘A’ ratings. Remind employees to scrape leftovers off their utensils instead of rinsing, and run the dishwasher when full to maximize savings.
    4. Opt for succulent plants, for your office decorations. Succulents such as cactus and aloe vera do not require much water to thrive.

    To go beyond the above, start a conversation with your landlord or property manager about water saving actions that can be implemented across the commercial building.


    For large enterprises

    Larger organisations with several facilities and a high number of employees will find that small acts add up. Invest in water saving devices to automate water savings across the organisation.

    1. Install aerators on your faucets. Aerators mix air and water to deliver a lower flow of water with no noticeable difference for the end consumer. Aerators can be screwed on to faucets.
    1. Choose taps with sensors that only flow when they sense that hands in proximity.
    1. Upgrade to dual flush toilet cisterns that provide a high volume and a low volume option for flushing.
    2. Switch to foam soap in restrooms. Foam soap lathers faster and offers potential to save water with every hand wash.
    1. Launch a ‘Spot the Leak’ campaign. According to WWF’s A-Z of Water Saving tips, a dripping tap can waste as much as 90 litres a week! Mobilize your team of employees and possibly even customers to find leaks across the organisation’s facilities.
    2. Partner with non-profit organisations that promote sustainable consumption of water, invest in water efficient technologies, and support water conservation programmes.
    3. Identify unique solutions to your specific consumption patterns and operational needs. Involve employees across the organisation to share their recommendations and ideas.


    10% savings can be achieved by engaging employees in energy and water conservation practices


    For commercial venues (e.g. malls, hotels, residential complexes)
    Grey water is as valuable a resource as fresh water for commercial venues. Maximize your organisation’s use of grey water and minimize loss to leaks, sewage and natural evaporation.


    12. Audit your grey water, from source to consumption. Ensure a closed loop system is in place to prevent loss of grey water.

    13. Invest in ‘sustainable’ outdoor fountains. Phase out fountains that spray water into the air in favour of trickling or cascading fountains. According to Water Use It Wisely, the latter lose less water to evaporation.

    14. Provide shade or cover outdoor pools to reduce loss of water to evaporation.

    15. Water plants and lawns during cooler parts of the day to avoid evaporation.

    16. Embrace Xeriscape landscaping principles, which promote low-water plants and offer a holistic view to designing and maintaining landscapes in a water-efficient manner.

    17. Utilize non-plant decorations in outdoor areas to reduce demand for water.

    18. Invite guests to participate in water-friendly initiatives with catchy visuals and simple messaging.


    Remember to document your water saving initiatives, report results and share insights in your annual sustainability reports.

    Become an Emirates Nature-WWF partner to access in-depth guides on water conservation or for help in designing employee engagement activities. Click here to find out more about our Sustainability Partners Programme.


    We have to start now, to save our water while we still have it.